Saturday, April 4, 2015

Thomas De Quincey is Back!

4 of 5 stars

I'm always excited when some of my favorite things are brought together: Victorian London, murder and conspiracy, Scotland Yard, sexy red-headed Irishmen, and women pushing societal boundaries. Granted, all these things were in the first Thomas De Quincey book and the mystery was better, but this one is still a strong 4 stars. 

We first met Thomas De Quincey, aka The Opium-Eater, in Murder as a Fine Art. The series is based on the life of an actual person. Fictional elements are blended with real-life events and people for the highest level of authenticity. I'm not a scholar of the era, but I've been knocked right out of the story in novels where fact and fiction clash. This never happens in this series. 

Just as they're leaving London, opium addict De Quincey and his daughter/caretaker Emily are drawn into yet another series of murders setting London and the Yard on their ears. It's important to note that De Quincey is not an ersatz Sherlock Holmes and Emily his Watson.  Although Holmes and De Quincey both see the world from a perspective most of us never attain, they are standing across from one another rather than side by side.

I'm giving very limited plot details: the murder victims are aristocrats, and there are hints at a conspiracy that may place Queen Victoria in danger. 

Although second in a series, there's no reason this book can't be read as a standalone.  Any required character history is given by the author in the forward. 

I highly recommend!