‘A man with murder in his heart.’
London, 1851. The Redemption is docked at London’s Blackwall Reach. Captain Louis Valentine has been found dead, stabbed in the neck. The Thames River Police are called in to investigate. There is no murder weapon in his cabin. Checking further, Constable John Gaunt notices a book. Flung, face down, in an otherwise neat cabin is a copy of Charles Dicken’s ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. The book is inscribed ‘To Kit, the
original. For all that we were. Yours very affectionately, Charles Dickens.’
How did this book end up in Captain Valentine’s cabin? Was Kit the murderer?
Charles Dickens is approached by the police. He knows he inscribed the book to his friend Kit Penney and is certain that Kit would not be Captain Valentine’s murderer. But Kit Penney has gone missing.
What follows is a very satisfying murder mystery. There is no shortage of suspects: from missing seamen, to others who might have benefited from Louis Valentine’s death. And there were other suspicious deaths as well.
Charles Dickens joins forces, once again, with his friend Superintendent Jones. Strictly speaking, the case is not within Superintendent Jones’s jurisdiction, but there is plenty of investigation required to solve this case. And, sadly, there will be other deaths before the case is solved.
This is Ms Briggs’s 6th book in the Charles Dickens Investigation Series and the fifth I have read. I enjoy the series because Ms Briggs brings 19th century London to life with her finely described people and places.
If you like Charles Dickens and enjoy well-plotted mystery fiction set in and around 19th century London, then I recommend this series.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.