Leeds, Christmas Eve, 1890. Detective Inspector Tom Harper is looking forward to his first Christmas with his new wife, Annabelle. But then he’s called out. A young man has been found stabbed to death in the Leylands, the city’s poverty-stricken Jewish area, the body arranged in the shape of a cross, with two bronze pennies covering his eyes. Who could hate the Jews that much?
Harper’s investigation is interrupted by the arrival of French police Capitaine Bertrand Muyrère. He’s looking into the disappearance of Louis Le Prince, a Leeds resident who vanished without trace in France, on his way to America to patent his new invention – the first motion picture camera.
As tension and fear rises in the Jewish community, Harper is forced to use unorthodox methods to find the killer before the simmering violence in the Leylands boils over into the streets.
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From the Booklist review:
‘…Redolent of the smells, sights, and sounds of nineteenth-century England, suspense-filled, tense, and engrossing, Nickson’s latest is a fine read and an excellent addition to the Tom Harper series.’
From Kirkus Reviews:
‘Another of Nickson’s excellent police procedurals with a social conscience.’
From Library Journal (starred review):
‘Nickson’s second historical to feature detective inspector Harper (after Gods of Gold) is a thoroughly enjoyable procedural. Victorian-era Leeds comes alive as an unusual setting against which the sympathetically drawn characters perform their roles. Recommend for anyone who loves Ripper Street on BBC America or Anne Perry’s Victorian crime novels.’
From the Historical Novel Society:
‘This is the second Tom Harper mystery, and it’s another well-written foray into 19th-century Leeds. Harper is infinitely likable, and both he and the secondary characters are well-developed and engaging. These are people the reader is made to care about, their backstories providing depth to the mystery and counterpoint to the grind of police procedural. Nickson is skillful in both his excellent grasp of dialogue and his portrayal of Industrial Age Leeds, as well as the prejudices of its inhabitants and the plight of its Jewish population. In sum: another well-executed and enjoyable mystery from an author accomplished in this genre. I look forward to the next in the series.’