- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Oak Tree Press; Standard ed. edition (25 Aug. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1783336587
- ISBN-13: 978-1783336586
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,073,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Foul Trade: Chasing Dragons, Courting Death Paperback – 25 Aug 2014
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Top customer reviews
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Having read the novella that introduced us to May Keaps, I pre ordered Foul Trade straight away.
May is such an interesting character to read about and faces every situation with a sense of level headiness, even if she isn't feeling so calm inside.
BK Duncan brought to life the era, hardships and unsavoury characters realistically well. By brining this to be a darker novel, than I expected, even with the blurb.
May works methodically and fairly and I for one was watching out for her, hoping she made it to the end of the book as unscathed as possible.
This book is not one to be devoured, there is so much wonderful literature on every page, you need to read, digest, breathe as it is a stunningly impressive novel, that is thought provoking, and plenty of mystery that gripped me and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through May's eyes.
The author transports you back in time and you really get a feel of what life was like in that era. Though the world May finds herself in is a very dark and dangerous one. I know drugs have always been around but didn’t realise just how rife it was in 1920’s.
May is very much a modern woman of her day. She is an independent and determined young lady who knows what she wants in life. She reminded me of a younger version of Agatha Christie’s, Jane Marple. Always getting involved in things she would be best off keeping out of.
Foul Trade is a well written novel that is perfect for fans of historical crime fiction. A very solid start to a brand new crime series and look forward to reading more.
I was a little disappointed that in the end, May doesn't so much solve the puzzle as stumble into it through sheer stubborn persistence, but is quite effectively resolved, if not as neatly as I would have liked.
The writing in general is crisp and well paced, though overall I thought that it seemed a bit longer than it needed to be and would have benefited from a bit of trimming. Still very readable though, and it has that feel of another time and place which makes a good historical novel stand out.”
As May pursues the necessary evidence to present to the coroner, in a murder case, we are introduced to an entertaining variety of well-drawn characters; in gambling houses, opium dens, pubs, the theatre and the profession of the streets. We catch the scent of everyday life as well as the docks, exotic spices and the smell of danger and intrigue that May faces as she digs deeper into the mystery. I have to admit that when I first set out to read this I could only spend short sporadic periods with the book and I got lost and confused because it's very complex, however, I started it again when I had more leisure time and really enjoyed it.
Set in 1920, a time when the acute shortage of men allowed women to take jobs that would previously have been denied them; Foul Trade presents us with danger excitement and a feisty to be reckoned with heroine in the shape of May Keaps.
May has other issues besides getting to the truth on behalf of those who can no longer speak for themselves; a potentially wayward younger sister, the ghost of a relative’s suicide and a lack of romance to name but a few. But she is professional to the last albeit a bit maverick and unafraid to speak her mind. The new Poplar district coroner, Braxton Clarke, poses challenges because he is unlike his late lamented predecessor, Colonel Tindall, who set no store by, or trust in, the expert opinions of medical men.
As well as the underworld of opium dens, illegal gambling and a brutal Chinese Tong May must also face dilemmas and danger as it seems the killer is determined to escape the noose by having her laid out on her own mortuary slab.
This book is a real delight and brings the London district of Poplar in the early 20th century; you can feel the poverty and desperation as well as smell the river. I seriously hope there will be more May Keaps adventures in future.
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Most recent customer reviews
A likeable "heroine" and a story with so many threads.Read more