London -- fiction
When promising artist Artemisia is found with a slit throat, her married lover is sentenced to be executed for the murder. But Lady Sundridge is convinced that Miles Ramsforth, patron of the arts, is innocent of killing his comely protégé—who also happened to be pregnant with his first child. On the advice of a shadowy figure, Lady Sundridge enlists the expertise of amateur sleuths Veronica Speedwell and her partner Revelstoke “Stoker” Templeton-Vane.
The pressure’s on for the detectives as the execution is scheduled in seven days. The biggest problem hinges on the existence of any number of suspects who had good reason to frame Ramsforth for the violent crime. And, to introduce several more intriguing wrinkles, Lady Sundridge is not who she claims to be. When their lives are threatened, Veronica and Stoker are certain they’re getting closer to solving the case.
A Perilous Undertaking, by Virginia’s own Deanna Raybourn, is the second in the Veronica Speedwell series. If you haven’t already read the first book, I would definitely recommend starting with A Curious Beginning. Despite the book’s setting of late 1800s England, Veronica is quite the modern woman. She travels the world solo, capturing exotic butterflies to sell to any number of wealthy collectors.
Rachel Watson is just a girl on the train.
She takes the same London commuter train into work almost daily. She passes the same tiny suburbs on the tracks—the same suburbs she used to live in with her ex-husband, Tom.
Occasionally, she sees Tom and his new wife Anna with their new baby, enjoying a stroll in the afternoons. But more often than not, she directs all of her attention to a house down the street from her old abode, one that houses a young couple who she finds herself obsessing over.
Maisie Dobbs. Perhaps it’s not a fascinating name, but it –is- the name of a fascinating woman. Born to a poor but loving family, thirteen-year-old Maisie goes into service in a grand London house. How very fortunate for her that it is the home of a clever and bored lady bountiful.
Abi Tamper leads a very restricted life as a maid in the Greaves household. It’s the 1850s, so there’s lots for a hired girl to do around a mansion in London, and next to none of it is enjoyable.
“It’s a pity you’re not prettier,” or words to that effect seem to follow March Middleton everywhere she goes. She is alone in the world after her surgeon-father’s death, her mother having died at her birth. With no marriage prospects and frankly no desire for wedlock, apparently penniless March accepts an old family friend’s invitation to be his ward. After all, London must be more interesting than the placid English countryside.
Finley Jayne, The Girl in the Steel Corset, could not have known that her wretched night, indeed her wretched life, was about to take a turn for the better. Whilst fleeing the scene of an assault—which she did not start but did finish—she encounters a gentleman of a very different caliber. She discovers Griffin, the young Duke of Greythorne, is a person to be trusted. Like Finley, he has secrets, though, which will either draw them together or rip them apart—perhaps literally.
Hannah is very happy to be moving to London. It’s 1665, and for a young yet just-grown-up girl, it is surely the center of all that is fascinating and bold. She’s to join her sister, Sarah, At the Sign of the Sugar Plum, where she will help craft delicious confections for gentry and commoners alike. Hannah knows she will be working hard to establish the business, and that suits the red-haired young woman perfectly. Indeed, everything suits her down to the ground, including the handsome apothecary’s apprentice.
But there are rumors that the plague is has struck London again this summer. It’s just a few people at first, and the King’s court is still in town, so nobody minds it too much. Then the disease spreads wildly, until thousands each week die in agony. Hannah and Sarah are both frightened, but leaving London and their business would mean giving up their dreams.
After reading CRRL librarian Joy O’Toole’s great write-up on Agatha Christie, I thought I’d give one of her series a try. I’m not sure why I had been avoiding them. I like British stuff, historical novels, and mysteries. But what I had glimpsed of Inspector Poirot and Miss Marple did not immediately grab me. I decided to try one of her lesser-known series, Partners in Crime, which starts with The Secret Adversary.
Friends since childhood, charming, young, and starving Tommy and Tuppence meet at a London tea shop to catch up, only to discover that they both face the same problem—chronic unemployment! In London after the Great War, there aren’t a lot of jobs to be had, so for the price of an advertisement in the newspaper, they decide to create The Young Adventurers, Ltd., a firm that will take on very nearly anything.
London Below is a dangerous, magical place. In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Scotsman Richard Mayhew had just settled in with the upwardly-mobile routines of London Above. He had an office job that might be going places and a stunning if toffee-nosed girlfriend who was perhaps rather too keen on gallery-hopping for his taste. His lovely Jessica had plans for Richard’s life that did not include helping the bloody and broken young lady who lay across their path.
It’s not her fault they call her Bloody Jack. Well, not exactly, though I suppose in her way she earned it. ‘Twasn’t always like that, though. She came from a nice if poor family in London, Mary did, before the pestilence came and took their lives, and horrible Muck came with his wheelbarrow for their bodies to give to the doctors to cut up. Set out on the curb, crying as a small girl will, old Muck tried to cheer Mary by assuring he’d be back for her before too long.