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Walking in Pimlico [Hardcover]

Ann Featherstone
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 15.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Sep 2009

To 'walk in Pimlico' colloq. to be handsomely dressed

Murray's Dictionary of Slang, Cant and Flash Words and Phrases (1857, 3rd ed.).

Stumbling across Bessie Spooner's murdered body, comedian Corney Sage is caught in a tangle of deception and lies. He flees from his concert-room job in London's Whitechapel to a comfortable spa town, and then to a circus and music hall. But try as he might, he cannot elude the killer. And in Corney's world of theatricals, clowns and showmen, where appearances are surface deep and secrets are deadly, any one of them might be the murderer . . .

From the drawing rooms of polite society to dingy lodging houses, through shabby pump-room pavilions, fairgrounds and freak shows, Ann Featherstone brilliantly reconstructs nineteenth-century England in this gripping psychological thriller.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; First edition. Hardback. Dust jacket. edition (17 Sep 2009)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1848541724
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848541726
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 16 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 951,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Up there with the work of Angela Carter and Sarah Waters... a gripping and accomplished Victorian murder mystery. A wildly inventive romp through the lowlife of 19th-century England. Extremely hard to put down. #include file="m63-article-related-attachements.html" (The Times)

Smacks of period authenticity... written in a literary style that is of a far greater quality than the genre normally attracts... a compelling plot. Walking in Pimlico is an excellent debut novel. (The British Theatre Guide Newsletter)

'Anyone who liked Sarah Waters' Fingersmith is sure to find this a very rewarding read. A real gem' (Historical Novels Review)

Book Description

A murder mystery that twists and turns through the sinister world of the Victorian music hall


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By David Spanswick VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Written in a diction so authentic I could believe the author has a time machine in the garden shed in which she traverses history to pick up the slang, innuendo and argot of the Victorian streets of Whitechapel and beyond.

The book deals with the intertwining stories of one Corney Sage, comic and clog dancer who has graced the stages of many a disreputable music hall and the somewhat mysterious Miss Phyllida Marweather, who is many things besides but I am not here to spoil your pleasure of reading this brilliant and bursting piece of outrageous fantasy fiction.

Ann Featherstone has adopted the great traditions of story telling and quoted the same within her text. She has Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe (and even Virginia Woolf) sitting at her shoulder as she writes as well as such contemporaries as Anne Perry and Sarah Waters.

Her tale is a deeply textured tapestry of intrigue, double-dealing `orrible murders; a picaresque confection that should satisfy any reader not only of the genre but also for the jaded reader who might be looking for something a little different, and different this book definitely is, I have not read anything quite like it before.

Ms Featherstone is a researcher (see her other books, essays and articles) and has woven that research into a thumping good read but unlike other writer of historical crime she does not let the research show, the narrative flows in an uninterrupted way that the likes of Dan Brown could only dream of.

I give the book 5 stars without any reservation as it ticks every single box as a great yarn, a captivating mystery, an historical insight and an unputdownable read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 31 Dec 2009
By Dr. Paul Ell HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is rare indeed. Impeccable research captures the sounds, sights, smells, and murder of nineteenth-century London. The product of impeccable research the novel is narrated in the first person through two characters, one the murderer.

Although the reader, due to the nature of the narrative, learns of the `killer' early on, this really doesn't spoil the fast pace and page-turning nature of this book. Such is the care to detail, and the writing skill of the author, the book remains compelling.

I have no reservations in recommending this book to all who like thrillers, quality writing, or historical novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loads of period atmosphere 13 Dec 2009
By Andy Edwards TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As you read this you are taken on a tour of Victorian music halls, and the haunts of those who performed in them, and the major strength of the book is the authenticity of this tour. Peopled by procession of grotesque characters, almost everyone of whom seems to look out only for themselves, this is a story which is almost relentlessly dark. Our hero, Corney Sage, is the exception though, as he does at least demonstrate some fellow feeling, and he is the perfect counterpoint to the shadows that surround him.

The language of the book is that of the era, which took a little getting used too, but once we're into the story, it becomes natural. The plot involves many unexpected twists and turns, each adding to tension of the central plot device, but I did feel that at times the pace was a little lacking. I also felt that some scenes were included merely to allow the author to demonstrate her knowledge, adding little to the story. More positively, the villain is a satisfyingly complex mixture (literally - read the book and you'll know what I mean), who hunts down the 2 people able to link crime and perpetrator and the cat and mouse element provides the best parts of the book.

There's lots to recommend about this then, an involving storyline, interesting characters, authentic period detail and healthy doses of humour (mostly of the black variety) poignancy, pathos and passion. Reading like an updated "penny dreadful", this will thrill lovers of Victoriana.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More a historical novel than a crime story 29 Nov 2009
By AR VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Corney Sage is a small-time performer in the music halls and circuses of Victorian London. When his friend, a prostitute named Bessie Spooner, is brutally beaten to death in the yard behind their workplace, Corney, along with another prostitute, Lucy, are the only witnesses. The shadowy figure of the killer haunts them as they flee from town to town, trying to escape him. But the killer's identity is more surprising than anyone could have realised...

A colourful tale of murder and circus folk in Victorian England, this is certainly an authentic book. The author is clearly an authority on the subject, fleshing out the story with minor details that makes the world of Corney Sage come alive. His voice seems note-perfect, a sympathetic protagonist. The low-life landlords, show folk and prostitutes he mixes with are portrayed vividly, down to their blackened teeth and poor spelling, whilst the upper-class characters seem to inhabit a different world. Class is an important issue in respect to the identity of the killer, but I won't dwell on it here.

The viewpoint of the story alternates between characters, and the identity of the killer is quickly revealed to the reader. We learn the killer's motivations, and see how they plan to get away with their crimes.

But I have to admit that I didn't find this book very interesting. It took me a couple of weeks to read, which is very slow for me, and was never that keen to pick it up and find out what happened next, which isn't great for a crime novel. As a piece of historical fiction it works really well, although I found the ending a bit blurry and disappointing, told from Corney's viewpoint as he battles with illness, the story takes on a hallucinatory air that gave everything an uncertain feeling. More of a period piece than a riveting crime read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars cor blimey trousers
the first novel from this lecturer in performance history and coauthor of the great study of the victorian clown i have read many of her articles and historical studies and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by mark1000
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Debut
Took me some time to get around to reviewing this fine debut (life intervened). We're not short on Victorian set London crime novels! Read more
Published 20 months ago by martinblank
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, enjoyable Victoriana!
Walking In Pimlico is a fine debut novel. Dark, dense, playful. The language is authentic Victoriana. Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2012 by rp
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended
A book recommended by a friend for my better half who has not read it yet. Arrived in good order.
Published on 27 July 2012 by DT
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story
This is a gripping, atmospheric story set in Victorian London, and cleverly written - a story of murder and intrigue. The characters are vividly depicted. Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2010 by weaverhelen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent piece of fiction
I was worried when reading this book that it would come across stilted as some academic writing does. Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2010 by RuthW
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, gripping read
I was utterly gripped by this book from start to finish...I literally couldnt put it down...the atmosphere is so authentic, the characters are well drawn and the detail the author... Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2010 by V. lowe
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric & artful psychological, historical thriller
An almost five-star novel, only let down (a little) by a slightly unlikely ending. Please don't let that put you off, it doesn't much affect enjoyment. Read more
Published on 24 July 2010 by Sarah W
4.0 out of 5 stars Running after me with his boots crack-cracking on the stones
To be `Walking in Pimlico' is to be handsomely dressed, derived from a (1857) dictionary of "slang, cant and flash words and phrases," and the usage testifies to the authenticity... Read more
Published on 17 Feb 2010 by Eileen Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction of the interesting and unusual variety
This is a novel for those who like historical fiction, it's written in a slightly archaic language so its also a kind of a pastiche of the classic Victorian novel. Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2010 by Elizabeth Taylor
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