A renowned London ghostbuster probes a link between Jack the Ripper and composer Franz Liszt.
While gathering background information for a biography, music researcher Phineas Fox discovers that the aging Liszt was a passionate admirer of the scandalous music hall dancer known as Scaramel. Her notoriety came both from dancing naked on tables and from her involvement in an unspecified murder. As usual (Song of the Damned, 2018, etc.), the narrative alternates between Phinn in the present and the focus of his study in the past. As the 1880s wear on, Daisy, a wide-eyed young pauper who’s very protective of her younger brother, Joe, is seduced by the lush life her new employer, “Madame,” offers her. After she and Joe witness a murder, she frets because she can identify the killer and fears seeing him again. Phinn’s investigations in the present, meanwhile, lead him to Linklighters, a new Soho club built on the site of Scaramel’s infamous dances by Loretta and Roland, a young couple who struggle in the first months of their dream venture. Daisy feels herself being increasingly watched by the killer, who the reader has likely already deduced is Jack the Ripper. With the help of girlfriend Arabella and puckish pal Toby Tallis, Phinn learns more about the past of Linklighters’ original founder and namesake, Links, who may have been a criminal. When Phinn shares some of his unusual discoveries about Linklighters with Loretta and Roland, they are less than pleased.
Colorful characters and a mastery of slow-burning suspense make this case an engaging page-turner.