My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This historical mystery was fascinating on so many levels. First, because the setting was a new one to the genre and the author took full advantage of this to convey the unique community of 1828 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. In a penal colony with strict levels of society, a person’s freedom is tenuous, no matter his previous position in life. Second, because the hero is so well-drawn as a disgraced Bow Street runner who is now a prisoner, able to make his own living by dispersing news by mouth. His real skill is detection, and he will need every ounce of it when the killing starts. Third, it’s a true mystery with many red herrings. Fourth, the characters were varied and distinctive, with only a few straying into stereotypical territory. Summarily, a thinking man and lots of action with quirky characters in a well-described atmosphere equals an excellent historical mystery.
© Jan McClintock of We Need More Shelves