The Constable of Leeds investigates the most horrifying case of his long career.
There’s no safety net in 1733 Leeds. The poor scramble for every crumb of food and die with no hope of help, while the wealthy mostly ignore their plight. So it’s no surprise to Richard Nottingham that when the bodies of three young street children are found tortured, raped and murdered, the mayor offers a reward that adds more trouble than help and is furious when clues indicate that a wealthy man may be the killer. Nottingham has barely recovered from a knifing, and his assistants John Sedgwick and Rob Lister are putting in long hours to help him in what seems a hopeless case. He finds a street boy who has seen the mysterious killer and, when he too is murdered, finds another, a young girl he takes into his home as a serving maid. Even the friends he has among the city’s rich merchants warn him that although the well-connected Mr. Darden and his assistant, Mr. Howard, may be guilty, they will never hang for it. But Nottingham refuses to ignore what he knows to be the truth. When his wife, Mary, is murdered, he’s willing to give up everything he worked for to bring the guilty to justice.
Despite the relative dearth of mystery, this case for Nottingham (Come the Fear, 2012, etc.) is a wicked good combination of history and social commentary.