Leeds. October, 1891. An unclaimed parcel at the Central Post Office is discovered to contain the decomposing body of a baby boy. It’s a gruesome case for Detective Inspector Tom Harper. Then a fire during the night destroys half the railway station. The next day a woman’s body is found in the rubble. But Catherine Carr didn’t die in the blaze – she’d been stabbed to death, and Harper has to find her killer.
The estranged wife of a wealthy industrialist, Catherine had been involved with the Leeds Suffragist Society, demanding votes for women, the same organization for which Harper’s wife, Annabelle, has just become a speaker. Did the husband Catherine abandoned kill her? Or were her radical politics behind her death – and can the Inspector keep Annabelle safe? When Catherine’s brother escapes from the asylum, steals a shotgun and arrives in Leeds, Harper needs to race to find the answers.
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A very wonderful piece in the Yorkshire Evening Post. Read it here.
And from the lovely review in Booklist: “Historical-mystery readers will find everything they need here, from a fully developed lead character to carefully delineated procedural details to meaty subject matter.”
Publishers Weekly says: “Gun violence and the ambiguities of justice add a topical edge to British author Nickson’s solid third Tom Harper police procedural (after 2015’s Two Bronze Pennies), set in Leeds in 1891. Subplots involving … his wife’s suffragist awakening, and tensions between himself and his former sergeant, Billy Reed, add appealing warmth. Nickson resolves the mystery… in a believable, nuanced way.”
From the magazine of the Historical Novel Society:
And a 2015 pick for Waterstone’s in Leeds:
From the Library Journal review:
“Murder, women’s suffrage, madness, and industrial shenanigans all come together in a shocking conclusion.”