A ghastly poisoning sets a young writer on the trail of a killer in Victorian London.
January 1835 finds rising journalist Charles Dickens enjoying Epiphany dinner with his editor, George Hogarth, and his family in Brompton when a terrible scream splits the air. Dickens, Hogarth, and Hogarth’s daughter Kate rush next door to Lugoson House. There, Lady Lugoson’s daughter, Christiana, who’s been taken violently ill, dies before her mother’s horrified eyes despite the ministrations of the host of doctors summoned to her bedside. The next day, at the offices of the Evening Chronicle, Charles confides his unease to fellow journalist William Aga. How could Christiana Lugoson have become mortally ill when none of the other dinner guests were affected? William recalls the similar death of another young woman, Marie Rueff, just one year ago at Epiphany. Watching young Charles sniff out the connection between the two deaths is only part of the fun. Readers can also watch the sweet, unsurprising romance between Charles and Kate unfold at a modest but steady pace and can travel through a historical London that’s vivid without being overcrowded with detail. Each character’s voice is distinctive and appropriate to the period, and Redmond’s exposition is as stately and lucid as any contemporary reader could wish.
Redmond, who writes romance under the names Heather Hiestand and Anh Leod, adds crime to her portfolio. Mystery fans and history buffs alike should cheer.