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Synopsis: Two macabre discoveries in a single morning present an intriguing challenge for Detective Inspector Tom Harper. Leeds, England: July, 1893. ” D.I. Tom Harper is witnessing the demonstration of a devastating new naval weapon, the torpedo, at Roundhay Park. The explosion brings up a body in the lake, a rope lashed tightly around its waist.
At the same time, dredging operations in the River Aire are disrupted when a woman s severed leg floats to the water s surface, still clad in its stocking and boot. Could the two macabre discoveries be connected?  Harper s investigations will lead him right to the heart of the criminal underworld that underpins the city and into the path of a merciless killer.

Me: When you’re spending 3 weeks working away in the middle of nowhere it’s nice to have a book based in your home town to keep the home-sickness away. Even if it is set over 100 years ago.

I’ve read a few of Nickson’s books now and I love the attention to detail; he really brings the old cities to life. You can see so easily how much he loves his subject and timelines.  It’s a fast paced story that kept me entertained and even awake when I started it at 6am on my way to my temporary home. Very easy to get sucked into the story-line despite the sleep deprivation.

The story starts with the controlled explosion of a torpedo which raises a body from the pond of Roundhay Park and the body count rises at speed as the days pass. One thing I enjoy with historical crime is the lack of CSI. The books hows good old fashioned police work; working the streets, relying on informants and lots of running around with notes for each other. I also liked the Victorian gang story element.

The author always has strong female characters. Harpers’ wife has turned her life around becoming a bakery owner and landlady and in this book has joined the Suffrage movement and is working with the New Labour movement. It’s great to see women actually do more than take their hats off and sit around having afternoon tea (although that is quite fun – the afternoon tea not the hats). One of my favourite parts of the book is Annabelle Harper discussing how you should never underestimate a woman

It has an excellent twist at the end which I can’t really comment on without giving the end away but I loved the final reveal. I wasn’t expecting it and that’s the way of the best crime stories. A must read

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Severn House Publishing.

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