A pair of identical twin brothers in Regency London work on three different mysteries, together and separately.
Peter and Paul Skillen, who’ve put their special bond to good professional use, have apprehended clever thief Harry Scattergood and handed him over to the magistrate. But Harry escapes once more from the hapless Bow Street Runners, who, jealous of the Skillens, are determined to recapture him. Meanwhile, Peter and his wife, Charlotte, are caught up in a search for the missing George Parry, the father of Clemency van Emden, who’s received an anonymous letter telling her that her estranged father is dead and buried. Parry, a brilliant engineer, was devastated when Clemency married a Dutchman, and it’s rumored that he died in abject poverty. Also, Paul Skillen, whose lover is respected actress Hannah Granville, races off to Bath after highwaymen rob her stage and steal her most precious possessions despite the presence of a guard hired to protect her. Peter and his helpers find that what’s supposed to be Parry’s body has been stolen from his grave, but after seeing a sketch made by the undertaker’s daughter, Clemency proclaims that the man was not her father, and Peter suspects that he may still be alive. In Bath, Hannah’s furious to learn that an actress she hates will join her onstage since Hannah’s contract does not allow her to get the other actress fired. At the same time, she fears that she’s being stalked by a gentlemanly highwayman who sends her a gift stolen from another passenger. Back in London, the Bow Street Runners are tasked with finding Scattergood and discovering who’s robbing multiple graves. Each case presents problems to solve and dangers to face.
The Bow Street Rivals are the least well-known of the prolific Marston’s many franchises (The Circus Train Conspiracy,2017,etc.). Despite the charismatic characters, there are a few too many strings to this particular bow.