70. The Murder of Patience Brooke by J.C. Briggs

I was desperate to read this book after I read the blurb and realised that Charles Dickens would be lending a hand in the investigation!!

Synopsis (as taken from the Amazon Kindle Store is as follows:

London, 1849

Charles Dickens has set up Urania Cottage as a sanctuary for fallen women.

But he is shocked when the matron’s assistant – Patience Brooke – is found hanging outside the property, covered in blood.

Desperate to protect the reputation of the Home and to stop a scandal from spreading, Dickens takes the investigation into his own hands.

With the help of his good friend, Superintendent Sam Jones of Bow Street, and a description of the suspect as ‘a man with a crooked face’, Dicken’s search takes him deep into the filthy slums of Victorian London.

Can Dickens save his reputation? Will he found out the secrets of Patience Brooke’s troubled past?

Or will the killer strike again…?

Ability to read – I didn’t have an issue when reading this which surprised me. I thought that perhaps the book would use language from the time period but I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case. It was easy for me to slip between the pages of this book and understand what I was reading and make sense of the plot. All the characters were very strong and very individual in their voices and I found at times, that my adrenaline spiked while reading this which in turn made me want to read faster and uncover all. Even reading at a faster pace, I was able to understand everything and didn’t feel the need to skip ahead or skim read what was happening.

Characterisation – I came into reading this positively giddy. The expectation I had of Charles Dicken’s in my head was muddled by different things but I can honestly say that the version of him presented in this novel does him credit. Charles Dicken’s was so a character I could get behind and the perfect companion to the Superintendent and the dynamic of the two of them together in personality, dialogue and different was the perfect combination for this story to come alive. The secondary characters, all got a chance to shine and I felt like I got detailed descriptions and backstories for all involved. Each character brought something to the story and made it feel richer somehow. I enjoyed how the character of Charles Dicken’s enjoyed referencing his own characters as he went about investigation and liked that the author had chosen to include that aspect and the aspect of Charles Dicken’s taking time to continue his own writing – in the case of this book he is writing David Copperfield. I felt that the inclusions of what Charles Dicken’s would have been doing during that time made his character more dimensional and real to the reader.

Visualisation – It was very easy for me to visualise what was happening in the book. I have working knowledge of London, and though my outlook is modern, I was able to form a clear image of the London presented in this book. I thought the details and descriptions were very good and helped to flesh out the characters and lesser known scene settings. I was able to understand what was happening and follow the characters actions very well. I was able to work with my imagination to visualise all aspects of the book.

Uniqueness – I mean where else are you going to get a story that combines Charles Dicken’s and murder? Let me tell you, nowhere else. This was wholly unique to me and utterly riveting. I was so excited to see how the author would shape Charles Dicken’s and how he would present himself in the book as an author and as an investigator. This book was magically mysterious and intensely good. It was a kindle book but now I’m going to have to buy the whole series in paperback.

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