Gower Street, London, 1882:
Sidney Grice isn’t your usual grumpy detective either in many ways. Sure, he consistently underestimates his peers and is aloof and utterly mercenary (and is generally faintly reminiscent of many people’s favourite eccentric crime investigator). But he’s also fallible, has a fake eye that won’t stay put, and lacks the charm or allure that I’m more used to finding in the detectives whose exploits I’m following about town. There is little really to like about him other than the fact that his dry sense of humour was spot on…and that made me utterly adore him as a character. I’d never want to meet the chap but I can’t wait to read more about him. In fact, the characters are generally just great and the dialogue is sharp and doesn’t feel clumsy or as if it’s straining under the weight of trying to be funny. Tick, tick and tick.
My only slight criticism is that the way that March’s back story is woven in is a little stilted. The plot is interspersed with letters/journal entries and it isn’t really clear at the outset how they fit in with everything else. I’m not sure what else I would have preferred but I just felt that there could have been a less disjointed way of working in that character development. Not enough to spoil an otherwise very enjoyable murder mystery but a niggle nonetheless.
Date finished: 25 February 2014
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley – thanks, Head of Zeus!
Genre: Historical fiction; crime
Pictured edition published: by Head of Zeus in November 2013