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Thursday, 23 October 2014
‘Murder on High Holborn’ by Susanna Gregory
March 1665. War has been declared on the Dutch, so it’s a disaster when England’s new flagship, HMS London, is scuttled on her maiden voyage ... and what link does this have with the death of a fortune-telling courtier in a fashionable brothel? Secret agent Thomas Chaloner has two weeks to find out...
This lively historical who-dunnit has a huge cast of characters, ranging from Prince Rupert (dashing Cavalier turned middle-aged grouch), through Temperance the brothel keeper and the wonderfully crazy 5th Monarchists, down to Grisley Pate and his enormous family, all drawn with Dickensian humour. The atmosphere of Restoration London was evoked by numerous small touches: the ever-present mud, the darkness lit by flickering torches, the abrupt changes to country in what’s now central London. The plot moves along at a leisurely pace, with corpses a-plenty, exciting action sequences and a satisfying ending. Although this novel is well through the Chaloner series, that wouldn’t matter to a new reader, and Gregory’s many fans will enjoy meeting the series characters again.
An amiable period romp.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group. Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.