Women rich and poor come to her, desperate and in dire need of help – and discretion. Dolly Merishaw is a midwife and an abortionist in Victorian Toronto, but although she keeps quiet about her clients’ condition, her contempt for them and her greed leaves every one of them resentful and angry. So it comes as no surprise to Detective William Murdoch when this malicious woman is murdered. What is a shock, though, is that a week later a young boy is found dead in Dolly’s squalid kitchen. Now, Murdoch isn’t sure if he’s hunting one murderer – or two.
©1998 Maureen Jennings (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This is the second in the Detective Murdoch series in 1895 Victorian Canada. In this one, a woman is found dead. She has two little boys living with her, supposedly foster children, and she has a daughter who is deaf and can’t talk and who others think is stupid. Detective Murdoch learns that the dead woman, Dolly, was not liked by anyone. She ran a home for unwed girls who could come and have their babies, but she treated them badly and with contempt. She also handed out herbs that would help a girl have an abortion. So no one was very surprised or unhappy when Dolly turned up dead. But then within a week, one of the two boys living with her is dead as well. Detective Murdoch doesn’t know if he’s seeking one murderer or more than one murderer. He has a variety of characters to choose from, all of whom are unforgettable characters. I like these books even though I’m usually not a great one for historic fiction. I’ll certainly be on to the next one.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Cardboard characters move through a predictable crime being investigated clumsily by an "acting detective" between his dancing lessons and training for the police atheletic tournament. The writing is stilted with heavy handed metaphors and clunky slang of the period that never sounds natural. The mystery itself is not compelling and actually resolves without the assistance of the detective.
I really wish I had listened to the sample before I selected this book because the poor reading made it even more painful to get through the book. His voicing for both women and children were equally falsetto bringing Monty Python to mind. And attempts at giving different sounds to characters was uneven at best. There were a few sections in which a song was being sung, and the reader proved himself tone deaf. He sounded like he was just trying to get it over with - as was I.
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