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Monday, 15 August 2016

'The Dead Woman of Deptford' by Ann Granger

Published by Headline,
30 June 2016.
ISBN 978-1-4722-0451-6

Deptford functions almost as a character in the book as its teeming streets and constant smells from the river establish the atmosphere; to add to the picture there is a peasouper fog during one of the police visits there.  The story is set (as the description of Deptford suggests) in the Victorian era when the docks were in full swing.

Inspector Ben Ross of Scotland Yard is sent to Deptford on a cold November night to investigate the body of a well-dressed, middle-aged woman found in a yard.  Meanwhile his wife, Lizzie, is trying to help a friend whose brother has become embroiled with a moneylender.  When Lizzie, her friend Patience, and Patience's brother Edgar Wellings arrive at the moneylenders house, lo and behold it is the home of the murder victim!

This tale moves along at a smart pace while providing very impressive background information on  Victorian London.    Peripheral characters like 5 or 6 year old Sukey, who assists her grandfather, Jeb Fisher (Raggy) in collecting rags from various households, Charlie Mott, an old sailor who scavenges for cigarette ends and remembers, as a cabin boy, seeing Napoleon, rat-like Harry Parker, who discovered the body  and Britannia Scroggs, maid to the murdered women certainly lodge in the memory of the reader.  The middle class characters like Mrs Clifford and Aunt Parry offer equal interest, if they provoke less sympathy.

Gradually Ben manages to sort out the development of events, with some considerable assistance from Lizzie!

A very absorbing read!
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Ann Granger has already written 5 books in the Ross series. She also writes the Mitchell and Markby series, the Fran Varady series and the Campbell and Carter crime novels, all with contemporary settings.

Ann Granger has worked in British embassies around the world. She met her husband, who was also working for the British Embassy, in Prague, and together they received postings to places as far apart as Munich and Lusaka. She is the author of the Mitchell and Markby Mysteries, the Fran Varady series and more recently the Lizzie Martin mystery series. She lives in Bicester, near Oxford.

Jennifer S 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.

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