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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

‘The Mangle Street Murders’ by M R C Kasasian

 Published by Head of Zeus,
7 November 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-78185-184-5

In 1882 there is a detective named Sidney Grice working in London.  A young lady whose father has died arrives in London as his ward.  She is March Middleton and she wants to share the work of detection with her guardian.  The pair are both interesting characters and there are certain echoes of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in their attitudes, behaviours and backgrounds.  They have various quirks such as March's predilection for cigarettes and gin and Sidney's vegetarian diet and obsession with getting supplies of tea to drink.  He likes his tea black describing milk as "the mammary excretions of cattle" and he prefers to be called a personal detective as he feels that the term private detective should be reserved for bedrooms.

London plays a large role in the story whether in the respectable environs of Bloomsbury or the dirty, smelly streets in the East End slums, peopled by beggars and thieves.  March is intrepid - she is the daughter of a doctor with whom she worked in India.  Sidney is physically unusual and mentally agile with a great ability to reason from disconnected scraps of evidence.  They become embroiled in a murder case where a man is accused of killing his wife.  They investigate a case that becomes extremely complex and involves more deaths and they disagree violently about the guilt of characters.

This is described as the Gower Street Detective Book 1 so, obviously more adventures are planned for March Middleton and Sidney Grice.
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer

Martin Kasasian was raised in Lancashire. He has had careers as varied as a factory hand, wine waiter, veterinary assistant, fairground worker and dentist. He lives with his wife, in Suffolk in the summer and in a village in Malta in the winter.

Jennifer Palmer  Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries. s.

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