Head of Zeus
“Gower Street, London, 1882: Sidney Grice, London’s most famous personal detective, is expecting a visitor. He drains his fifth pot of morning tea, and glances outside, where a young, plain woman picks her way between the piles of horse-dung towards his front door. Sidney Grice shudders. For heaven’s sake – she is wearing brown shoes.
Set between the refined buildings of Victorian Bloomsbury and the stinking streets of London’s East End, THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS is for those who like their crime original, atmospheric, and very, very funny.
3.5 of 5 stars
When March Middleton’s father dies she finds that she cannot maintain the family home. On deciding to let it she moves from Lancashire to move in with her new Guardian, Sidney Grice, an old friend of her father.
Sidney Grice however is no ordinary man. He is the famous personal detective, employed by the great and good to investigate a variety of crimes.
March soon finds herself drawn into one of Sidney’s investigations when a woman appears at his door, begging him to investigate her daughter’s death.
I had bought this book and left it sat on my Kindle for a while so I was pleased to finally get to read it. I enjoyed this first adventure of The Gower Street Detective series very much. It is a fun, light-hearted read set in Victorian London. A London full of misogyny, grime and crime and one which the feisty March is more than equipped to deal with. I loved her responses to the negativity directed at her for her looks, or lack thereof, and the fact that she is a woman. She gives as good as she gets, and often as a result gains respect.
Sidney Grice is a detestable little man, conceited, contriving and critical of anyone other than himself. He is however a caricature and because of all of these characteristics a great character to read. There are a host of other lovely characters including the put upon but not downtrodden maid Molly and Inspector Pound, whose interest in March is hinted at throughout. There is also a secret in March’s past that is a main part of the story and isn’t concluded, leaving it open to run throughout the series.
Whilst I worked out the mystery from about half way through the book this didn’t stop my enjoyment. It was a quick read, with lots of short chapters that helped me race through it. Luckily the next in the series The Curse of the House of Foskett was in my to read pile so I began to read that straight after this one. I’m already looking forward to book three!