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More like Dickens than Sherlock Holmes.


Arrowood is a private investigator in Victorian London. He is jealous of his rival, Sherlock Holmes, who gets all the rich clients while he is stuck with London’s less desirable denizens. His latest client is looking for her brother, who disappeared while working at a disreputable public house owned by the criminal mastermind, Cream. Arrowood and his sidekick Barnett have had a previous run in with Cream and must solve the missing person case without attracting the attention of Cream or his gang.

The period detail within this novel is splendid. The use of the language of the time is excellent!

There was only one other punter in the Hog that morning, a great lascar with a knife in his belt and his hair tied back like a pirate.

The characters are all believable (though not necessarily likeable) as is the dialogue. There are several twists and turns in the plot, which kept it interesting.

My problem with the book is that I expected it to be a mystery with clues sprinkled throughout leading me to guess the resolution by the time Arrowood did.  That was not the case.  While the ending was clever, I don’t see how a reader could have guessed it beforehand. One part of solution wasn’t even mentioned until the last twenty pages.  It just doesn’t seem fair so I wouldn’t recommend it to a mystery reader who wants to play detective. However, it would be an excellent book for someone interested in the lower classes of Victorian London society such as a reader of Charles Dickens.

I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway but that has not impacted my review.

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