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A Case of Doubtful Death
on 4 May 2013
Frances Doughty is faced with many cases in this latest episode in the series. She finds her fame is spreading throughout Bayswater without her needing to advertise and she has as plenty of work to keep her busy. She is even the, loosely disguised, heroine of a series of penny dreadfuls which are for sale in the area.
Her most important case is to try and find the whereabouts of Harry Palmer who disappeared after the unexpected death of one of his employers. His sister has stopped eating because she is so worried about him and Frances agrees to try and track him down - living or dead. But she finds the two doctors who own the Life House are not willing to assist her. The Life House caters for those wealthy clients who are worried about being buried alive. For a few days their bodies are kept in the Life House to see if they are in fact dead before they are buried in the normal way.
This is quite a gruesome story but it is compelling reading. I loved the portrait of Victorian life and the characters are very well drawn. I enjoyed the way the author carefully weaves together the many strands of this fascinating story to make a satisfying whole. Fakes and charlatans as well as villains are tracked down and exposed and the police are involved where appropriate.
If you want a well written historical crime series where the research is impeccable but does not swamp the story this is an excellent series to try. They can be read in any order but it helps to read then in the order in which they were published starting with The Poisonous Seed: A Frances Doughty Mystery