The Murder Pit is a witty take on Victorian London with frequent humorous potshots at the Holmes canon that also contains an intriguing mystery. If you ever wanted more humor in, say, the Hounds of the Baskervilles, this book is for you!
Arrowood is a consulting detective for the poorer residents of London. Perennially jealous of the money and fame of his contemporary, Sherlock Holmes, Arrowood insists his method of studying people—rather than footprints—is more effective. He just needs one big case to make him as well known as that other consulting detective.
The Barclays engage Arrowood’s services complaining that their daughter’s husband won’t let them see or talk with her. They are concerned that Birdie has been harmed or is being held against her will on the husband’s rural farm. Birdie is slow and her husband, Walter, has served time for blinding a man in a fit of rage. Despite Arrowood’s concern with the Barclay’s authenticity, Arrowood and Barnett, his scrappy Watson, investigate and find an unusual case indeed.
The Murder Pit is the second entry in the series but can be read as a standalone. It is an enjoyable and humorous dive into lower class London and the Holmes canon. Arrowood’s appetite and marital problems seem genuine. Barnett doesn’t always agree with Arrowood but continues to protect him from physical harm.
Overall, the unusual setting, superb characterizations and witty banter make the Murder Pit an excellent mystery choice. 4 stars!
Thanks to Mira and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.