Another rattling good tale in the Sir John and Jeremy series. These just keep getting better and the characters develop into personalities with whom you enjoy spending time. Bruce Alexander, whoever he or she is, is an excellent wordsmith, providing an easy read with just enough new material to pique the interst of a reluctant historian. Slowly savored over a period of days, the doldrums of television reruns are all but forgotten when I am immersed in the world of the Bow Sreet Runners and 18th Century London.
As this series continues, two mysteries need to be solved. Members of the Laningham family start dropping dead and being diagnosed by the coroner as being of natural causes, because an autopsy of the nobility would be "unseemly". Sir John Fielding has his doubts, but how to prove them? In the second mystery, Jeremy Proctor's friend, Jimmie Bunkins, thinks he recognizes a head found in the Thames. He investigates and then gets Jeremy to involve Sir John Fielding. By the end of the book, we know the answers to both mysteries; but justice is lacking in one. Also, the Fielding household provides refuge to a new orphan, which should continue to add to future plots in this series.
When a lord unexpectedly dies at a concert, Sir John and Jeremy immediately look for foul play. But the murderer seems to have covered his tracks to well. And when a head is fished out of the Thames it is imperative to identify it before a proper investigation can begin.
It's fascinating to get an idea how brutal it was to be poor in this era and how lawless the streets could be. I constantly find that my impressions of this era and city have been formed by the rich and genteel, and they were really a very small part of the population.
The author has done another fabulous job of bringing the street of 1770's London to life without drowning you in details and extra information.
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