It’s been a long time since I last read a Crispin Guest novel—I think it was the fourth, Troubled Bones. When The Deepest Grave (the eleventh in the series) came up on NetGalley, it was like seeing a long lost friend. I re-read the first, Veil of Lies, to get reacquainted. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to slip back into the world of Crispin Guest—you can start the series out of order and not be lost.
Crispin and apprentice Jack Tucker are drawn into investigating the walking dead in the St Modwen’s churchyard. To complicate Crispin’s already complicated life, someone from his first-ever case needs his help again. Fatherhood appears to be the theme, as young Jack is about to become a father and Crispin is…well, no spoilers here, but there is a very intriguing development for Crispin.
Crispin is as full of angst and regret as the first book but it’s his curiosity and cynicism that fuel him to solve the mysteries. The medieval setting is well balanced against the mystery plot, and the solution to the puzzle is very satisfying. 😀
Thank you NetGalley and Severn House Publishers
Jeri Westerson’s blog: CrispinGuest
This is a brilliantly written historical extrapolation of the rather mysterious and yet notorious Prince Albert Victor, grandson of Queen Victoria, second in line to the throne. Clark dives deeply into the episodes that appear to define the prince’s life—the poor student, the dullard, the naval cadet, the good brother, the voluptuary. The prince was also named in the Cleveland Street Scandal, a male brothel, and suspected of being Jack the Ripper (“The Final Solution” by Stephen Knight and movie by the same name).
At the heart of the novel is his relationship with his tutor and lifelong friend James Kenneth Stephen. Their relationship shapes and helps to define both young men, “Jem” and “Eddy.” Clark deftly pulls together the disparate elements that are only a glimmer of who the real Albert Victor might have been, giving his story emotional depth and deeper context.
I found the novel emotionally satisfying, and it gave me a better picture of an era I don’t know much about. Beautiful cover, gorgeous writing.
“The young man’s suit is a poem to tailoring; his proud valet can recite every pocket, pleat and tuck of it…”
Thank you NetGalley and Fairlight Books!
Review: In my opinion, one of the best Victorian historical mysteries I’ve read recently with likable, relatable characters in the setting of London’s scientific community. Typical for the genre, there are eccentric and devoted friends and an aloof, intriguing, doubting love interest. The superior writing raises the story out of the common morass. The only thing, I think, Merula Merriweather and Victoria Speedwell have in common is their shared love of science, complicated by the fact that ladies did not involve themselves in such pursuits. Merula is calm and level headed and as much as I love Victoria S, she makes me roll my eyes at times. This is both a satisfying mystery and a satisfying historical—highly recommended.
Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC, sorry so late!
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