5.0 out of 5 stars
The Secrets of the Lazarus Club, 10 Aug. 2012
I don't usually read crime or science fiction, though I do have a weakness for historical fiction, which is why I was drawn to 'Secrets of the Lazarus Club'. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, it is a wonderfully Dickensian evocation of a murky,sinister London of gaslight, mutilated bodies and anatomy theatres. The story weaves around real people and events. There is a very gruesome scene at the start,but happily nothing else is as stomach-churning. The main protagonist, a young surgeon, is plunged into the mystery of corpses washing up in the river, and at the same time is drawn into the secret circle of a group of very eminent Victorians. I enjoyed the innovative use of real characters whose important inventions and ideas have shaped the world as we know it today. The author has clearly researched thoroughly, and modern-sounding colloquial expressions, on investigation, turn out to come from that period, if not even earlier. I might just take issue, all the same, with the likelihood of a woman such as Florence Nightingale saying, "I may be just a woman but....". Only a man would put those words in her mouth. Indeed Florence was known to refer to herself as, "a man of action". But that little quibble aside, this was a thoroughly good yarn, the multi-layered plot twisting and turning to sustain momentum and suspense, and making for a very engrossing read. I'll be looking out for his next novel.