Synopsis: When her friend Meda fails to turn up for dance class one evening, 10-year-old Hilda is convinced that something bad has happened to her, despite Meda’s family’s reassurances. Unable to shake off her concerns, Hilda turns to her mother, Molly, for help. Molly runs the Jolly Bonnet, a pub with links to the Whitechapel murders of a century before and a meeting place for an assortment of eccentrics drawn to its warm embrace. Among them is Lottie. Pathologist by day, vlogger by night, Lottie enlists the help of her army of online fans – and uncovers evidence that Meda isn’t the first young girl to go missing.
But Molly and Lottie’s investigations attract unwelcome attention. Two worlds are about to collide in a terrifying game of cat and mouse played out on the rain-lashed streets of London’s East End, a historic neighbourhood that has run red with the blood of innocents for centuries.
This is one creepy, disturbing book and that’s a good thing. Despite the modern day setting, it captures the eeriness of Victorian London and the days of Jack the Ripper. It’s not a Ripperology book though, the antagonist here is kidnapping young girls and performing blood transfusions on them.
All excellent characters and keeping with the setting we have Molly, an ex-policewoman who enjoys dressing in fashions of years gone by including Victorian as per the theme bar she runs, Lottie the blue haired vlogging pathologist and 10 year old Hilda who seems a very intelligent child although I guess being brought up in a medical world her knowledge fits with the book.
I liked the multiple character narrations especially Hilda’s who’s own twist at the end was unexpected. There’s a 4th narrator, that of Mr Farkas who is descending further into grief-filled madness who’s obsession with historical medical procedures is the key to the mystery.
It’s creepy, spooky, full of weird and wonderful characters. It’s an unusual mystery even with the Lithuanian gangster sub-plot which makes it quite refreshing. It definitely left me a little unsettled which I’m seeing as a positive because so often I finish a story unmoved especially when there’s horror or supernatural angles. Good to see I can be surprised after all. Loved it and looking forward to see what else David Mark has.