Before you roll your eyes and say, “oh boy, yet another mystery novel set in Victorian London.” And before you ask, “will there be urchins? will there be prostitutes? will women be treated poorly?,” know this: Sherlock Holmes and Moriarity also show up. And the answer to all the other questions is (of course) yes.
This book is a prequel to The Devil’s Grin, which I’m pretty sure I reviewed last year. That’s the book where our heroine, Anna Kronberg, meets up with Sherlock Holmes. Anna is brilliant, a doctor, a nurse, a bacteriologist and epidemiologist. She also has to live a double life so that she can fulfill her purpose. In her life as a woman and a nurse in the London slums, she takes care of Garret O’Hare, an Irish thief with a heart of gold. She also takes care of the urchins, the prostitutes, and anyone else who needs her. But Anna is leading a double life – she masquerades as Dr. Anton Kronberg of Guy’s Hospital. She keeps two apartments so that no one will ever see her coming and going as one of her two selves. Her two selves create a complication when she finds herself falling for Garret.
Anyway, I read this ages ago, so I don’t remember what the mystery is, but there is searching, there are urchins and prostitutes, there is danger, bloodshed, medical deduction, sex stuff, and all the rest of everything that goes into these Victorian murder mysteries.
I definitely enjoyed this book, because I bought the omnibus edition of the three books that continue the series: Moriarity. Once I’m caught up with this whole Cannonball thing, I’ll get to those stories as well.