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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Murder on High Holborn by Susanna Gregory

Published by Sphere,
16 October 2014.
ISBN: 978-1847444332

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

Susanna Gregory was raised in Bristol. After graduating from university, she spent three years in Leeds, as an officer in the West Yorkshire Police, before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental consultant, doing fieldwork with whales, seals and walruses during seventeen field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and biological anthropology. She is the creator of the Thomas Chaloner series of mysteries set in Restoration London as well as the Matthew Bartholomew books, and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer. 
  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

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