- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Corsair (2 Feb. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780331665
- ISBN-13: 978-1780331669
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 789,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Tom-All-Alone's (Charles Maddox 2) Hardcover – 2 Feb 2012
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More About the Author
I started with Murder at Mansfield Park, which was 'Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie', then I moved to Charles Dickens with Tom-All-Alone's (UK)/The Solitary House (North America). That was inspired by Bleak House as my birthday present on his bicentenary.
My latest book takes as its inspiration the dark and tangled lives of the Shelleys - the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley who drowned at the age of 29, and his wife Mary, the author of Frankenstein. Their history is one of love and death, of secrets and betrayal, but it is also one full of strange silences and inexplicable gaps. My novel is an attempt to weave a story that can explain those silences. It's called A Treacherous Likeness in the UK, and A Fatal Likeness in the US.
I can't remember who it was who said you should write the sort of books you enjoy reading, but they were right - both my books combine my two great literary loves: classic English novels, and good detective fiction. I studied English at university (and have a doctorate in it too).
My other loves include cats (I have two), the English countryside (which I'm lucky enough to live in), Renaissance art (which I'm sadly not lucky enough to own), Palladian architecture, and America's finest police shows (Law & Order, Without a Trace, need I go on). Pet hates include wasps, monkeys, The Simpsons (just can't deal with the yellow faces), and the lazy use of the word "solutions" (I write for businesses as my day job, so that's the corporate copywriter creeping in).
My Twitter ID is @Lynn_Shepherd, and my website is www.lynn-shepherd.com.
A necessary eye for squalor, meticulous research and deft plotting, as well as the ability to handle the difficult God's-eye-view narration with aplomb...you'll be guaranteed to enjoy. (The Guardian)
It s a highly compelling, immaculately written 19th-century murder mystery. (Independent on Sunday)
A grisly period detective story with a light-hearted literary conceit (The Times)
An intelligent, gripping and beautifully written novel which sparkles with bibliophilic glee (The Scotsman)
Beautifully written..Shepherd has perfectly caught the tone of voice, ranging from the lawyer Tulkinghorn to Esther Summerson and Inspector Bucket, and describes the horrors of nineteenth century slums more candidly than any Victorian novelist ever could...an absorbing read (Literary Review)
I can think of no better way to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens than to recommend Tom-All-Alone's. This terrific Victorian mystery begins in dense fog, like Bleak House, and has an unemployed detective reluctantly obeying a summons to the rat-infested London churchyard of Tom-All-Alone's. The corpse of a newborn baby awaits him, marking the start of a case whose Dickensian horros are twinned with a sophisticated understanding of nature of sexual predation. (Joan Smith The Sunday Times)
Tom-All-Alone's is a dark and gripping Victorian murder mystery, immersing the reader in a grim London underworld.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Such a pity---Charles Maddox was an engaging character and I'd have liked to have known more about Molly. I'd have much preferred it if these characters had been allowed to live and breathe outside of the Dickensian framework.
A good book, but ultimately, the use Lynn Shepherd made of the characters Dickens created wasn't to my taste and I have considerable doubt as to whether books of this kind are a legitimate form of homage. I suspect someone who hasn't read 'Bleak House' will enjoy it more than someone who has!
While pursuing the case of a missing woman for his one and only client, Charles is hired by lawyer Tulkinghorn to discover the identity of the culprit sending threatening letters to one of his rich patrons. We accompany Charles in his journey down the gas lit streets of London as his investigation turns up more information than he had anticipated and he uncovers a plethora of foul deeds perpetrated on the innocent and unaware. Like a bloodhound on the scent Charles pursues these leads, and death, brutality and bodily harm result.
Relationships are the order of the day in this novel and two play pivotal roles in this story. Charles relationship with his uncle whose appears to be suffering from Alzheimer's, and the bonds described in a separate narrative supplied by a young woman named Hester. The reader knows that all of these items somehow tie the mysterious storylines together but is not exactly sure of the "how, who and why".Read more ›
I concur with reviews that found the character of Charles Maddox a bit shambling at times, or a bit clueless for a detective, but actually that's what I like about him. There's certain realism there; I can picture him completely through Shepherds endearing portrayal, and what sets him apart is his dogged determination, the poignancy of his own back story and his affable, twinkly disposition. He's an agreeable sort of character and I'm not surprised that other readers have commented that they would read further Charles Maddox novels.
I felt completely immersed in the setting (my stomach went over at some of Shepherd's vivid and detailed description) and I was able to easily visualise various characters and their interaction with one another. No matter what the original inspiration, the characterisation has all the right ingredients for the period and genre and dialects are written competently. In terms of the narrator's voice, I enjoyed this refreshing, all-seeing view that looks back in time from another place. I can understand some readers found this device tricky to settle with, but for me it really made a change from the same old stance. Plot-wise there are a couple of possible discrepancies, but that could just be me missing something.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Powerful spin off novel from Dickens's Bleak House. This is very well written and shows a close eye for the minutiae of Victorian life, especially the seamy aspects. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Hopper
An intriguing and original plot structure tagged on fairly effectively to Dickens's 'Bleak House'. Superbly recreates the atmosphere of Victorian London, and Charles Maddox is a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by 'Fountain Pen'
Tom-All-Alone's has an interesting premise, being a Victorian murder mystery that interweaves its tale and its characters with those of Dicken's Bleak House and Wilkie Collin's The... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr Blue Sky
I failed to become involved with this novel mainly because I found it dull and tedious. Forgetting the connection to Bleak House which I have not read I thought this book was a run... Read morePublished 16 months ago by nickyb
according to lynn shepherd you don't need to read a book to critique it, so this must be very poorPublished 22 months ago by Viffer
I wont dignify this hack with the courtesy of commenting heavily on her book save to say its nothing special. At least ive read the books. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Anthony Cunningham
Unfortunately this author believes that other top authors should cease writing novels once the have been successful. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mr David Stafford
I haven't read a word of this book. Why would I, when "there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds". Read morePublished 23 months ago by sound advice.