The highly anticipated second novel in the charming, sharply plotted Victorian crime series starring a detective duo to rival Holmes and Watson
125 Gower Street, 1882. Sidney Grice once had a reputation as London's most perspicacious personal detective. But since his last case led an innocent man to the gallows, business has been light. Listless and depressed, Grice has taken to lying in the bath for hours, emerging in the evenings for a little dry toast and a lot of tea. Usually a voracious reader, he will pick up neither book nor newspaper. He has not even gathered the strength to reinsert his glass eye. His ward, March Middleton, has been left to dine alone.
Then an eccentric member of a Final Death Society has the temerity to die on his study floor. Finally Sidney and March have an investigation to mount - an investigation that will draw them to an eerie house in Kew and to the mysterious Baroness Foskett.
©2015 M. R. C. Kasasian (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
It's needed for context, otherwise you'll miss a lot here.
That having been said, this book proves a good sequel, though my fourth star includes Lindy Nettleton's awesome narration; the plot itself is really three stars, especially as there are regular flashbacks to March's time in India that detracted for me, especially in audio where they appeared almost randomly without any notice. Still, it's great to see Sidney and March's characters grow (though Sidney does his best to hide that). One of the best scenes was March (who had been raised in India) bravely facing an English dish of "curried vegetables" that bore as much relation to the original as passing off a can of Dinty Moore beef stew as "homemade Russian stroganoff."
Shocker of an ending makes the next book a Must Read!
I am definitely enjoying this series with one large caveat: I find the gory descriptions on the gratuitous side. I'm a seasoned reader of mysteries and police procedurals in all their gory detail, and I also recognize the importance of historical accuracy, however ugly. Still, in my opinion, the author seems almost to revel in prolonged and unnecessary gruesomeness.
Furthermore, while I acknowledge that I'm a wimp when it comes to descriptions of animal cruelty, it seems to me that even a more hardened reader might find the salacious (and relatively frequent) depictions of such incidents in these books a bit over the top. Kasasian makes his point early on, no need to belabor it.
It's a shame, because it mars for me what is, in all other ways, a terrific new series.
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