- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Mulholland Books (26 Mar. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444781375
- ISBN-13: 978-1444781373
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,250,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Inspector of the Dead: Thomas and Emily De Quincey 2 (Victorian De Quincey mysteries) Paperback – 26 Mar 2015
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Riveting! With this mesmerizing series, David Morrell doesn't just delve into the world of Victorian England - he delves into the heart of evil, pitting one man's opium-skewed brilliance against a society where appearances are everything...and the most vicious killers lurk closer than anyone thinks. (Lisa Gardner, author of Fear Nothing)
Morrell expertly captures in prose the economic and political divisions of Victorian society, but he leavens his social commentary with moments of high adventure. (Kirkus Reviews)
A feat of brilliant storytelling (Huffington Post)
Murder as a Fine Art was fantastic, and Inspector of the Dead is even better...Morrell is darkly inventive with the murders and cleverly mines very real history...The author brings each character back to life, and they spring fully formed from the page...I dare you to put this down once you've picked it up! (My Bookish Ways)
Praise for David Morrell (.)
A gaslit gallop through Victorian London (Financial Times)
A terrific read. As one would expect of Morrell, it is compulsive and thrilling, but its use of de Quincey also allows for discursions that are both funny and touching - de Quincey and his daughter are great additions to the detective stage, and I hope we will have a lot more of them to come. (Judith Flanders, author of The Invention of Murder)
[An] exceptional historical mystery...page-flipping action, taut atmosphere, and multifaceted characters (Booklist)
Shockingly real...Morrell's thorough and erudite research of the people and culture of the British Empire's heyday informs every page. A literary thriller that pushes the envelope of fear (Associated Press)
Masterful...brilliantly plotted....evokes 1854 London with such finesse that you'll hear the hooves clattering on cobblestones (Entertainment Weekly)
By 1855, there had been six attempts to kill Queen Victoria. In Inspector of the Dead a seventh attempt will occur... Thomas De Quincey returns to the gaslit streets of London to solve a case of murder and assassination.See all Product description
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IotD finds the author still stuck in Victorian London with his inspiration, Thomas de Quincy, the lead from his prior book "Murder as a Fine Art". This tale stands shoulder to shoulder with this book, despite being more polished and previous 'Americanisms' thankfully absent. I'll admit I'm not a fan of the setting and wouldn't go out of my way to read such books (I prefer more modern day thrillers), however the first book was a great read and the same can be said for this too.
The characters have stood out for me a lot more this time around and the conspiracy story is as good as the first tale in the series. Morrell's research into the characters and the setting really are the stand out points for the book - situations, clothing, places are all described as authentically as someone could without actually having been there and it really makes you feel like you're in those foggy London streets.
If you like period-set books, this could be right up your street. If you've read David's other work, or even if you just like thrillers I'd highly recommend this one.
I believe David is in the process of writing a third book which is good news; however I would personally welcome a return to the here and now for his next book ;-)
Based around an actual assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, Thomas DeQuincy (of 'Confessions of an Opium Eater' fame/infamy), his bright young daughter, Emily, and a cast of detectives introduced in the first book, are on the trail of "Young England", a nihilist group, of sorts, thought to be the perpetrators of the plot.
The story unfolds around a fascinating account of politics and life in the mid 1850's, providing bits of insight into DeQuincy's character that does not veer very far from what is known of him, lending the plot an even greater credence. Neither does Morrell hold back with his graphic depictions of murder, and whilst some readers may find this a hard pill to swallow, in my own opinion, his work is captivating despite of - and possibly because of - this gritty realism. Certainly, this novels was difficult to put down, and that it never required the abandonment of neuronal activity only elevates it that much higher in my humble estimation.
Just finished reading Inspector of the Dead. I did get off to a bit of shaky start with this before I managed to get fully immersed but then it did hold my attention most successfully.
Set during the reign of Queen Victoria Inspector of the Dead is a crime/mystery story with a protagonist consumed with the desire for vengeance. The story is set during the Crimean War with many of the events, dates and places being based on real events.
The story gets off to a pretty immediate start with the death of a lady from the upper echelons of polite society – murdered in cold blood and apparently in full view of everyone attending Church! From there onwards the murder of society’s most prominent figures seems to spiral upwards and each death seems to deliver a grim message.
I’m not clear as to why this was a slow starter for me – it certainly wasn’t due to the lack of action or pacing. Maybe there was just too much going on and the police and others seemed to be running around like headless chickens – on reflection I think that was a very cunning ploy by the author to instil in the reader the same feelings of chaos and mayhem that the murderer was instilling in the people of London. At the time though I confess I was getting slightly irritated for some inexplicable reason.
As I mentioned above the main thrust of the story revolves around the desire for revenge. The victims start to deliver a picture of intent and it isn’t long before it becomes clear to those in authority that the Queen will be the final target.
Apparently this is the second book in the Thomas DeQuincey series – I haven’t read the first but I don’t think this was detrimental at all as the author has a pleasing style and the characters and place are easily conjured and each book is self contained.
The main character of course is DeQuincey. DeQuincey was notorious during the Victorian era – not only for writing a number of successful and revealing books but also for his prolific consumption of opium – for which he became known as ‘the opium eater’. Whether this habit gives him an increased clarity of mind or whether it simply increases his imagination is debatable by society but nobody can deny that he has a knack for looking at things in a logical fashion and cutting to the heart of the matter. The other characters are DeQ’s daughter Emily and two of Scotland Yard’s finest in Ryan and Becker. There are other characters on the outskirts but these are the main focus – along with the killer of course.
I can see that this would be an enjoyable series to read, just to read a standalone in a series is never as satisfying as reading from the beginning and picking up important details about the character and watch them develop and expand as you read is part of the enjoyment of a series. In that respect I would definitely continue with DeQuincey to see what comes next. I liked Emily – she knows her own mind and she’s not afraid to follow her own instincts even if that singles her out from the norm.
This book has a good pace, there are plenty of random little facts thrown in for good measure and a good build up of tension.
In terms of criticisms – well, I think it misses a trick in terms of using the Victorian era to better effect. It’s one of those periods in time that can have such a dark and creepy feel, Slums, dark alleys, pea soup fog, footsteps echoing behind a person – I didn’t quite get the spook factor that I would have liked in that respect although there was one particular scene where the murderer has literally closeted himself inside somebody’s house which was a bit chilling to say the least and definitely shone the spotlight on the murderer in all his incandescent rage! I was practically shouting at the book ‘run, get out’, ‘fly you fools’!!
All in all, after not the best start, I enjoyed this. It had that wonderful, over the top detective type feel that you would probably enjoy if reading a Sherlock Holmes story – where the baddies are just delightfully ‘bad’ and seem to be able to accomplish anything. Plus, I hand it to DM – i didn’t figure out the identify of the murderer – well, until about two seconds before the author decided to reveal it!
If you fancy a good murder/detective story with a crazy madman bent on destruction then I would recommend this.
I received a copy of this through the publishers. The above is my own opinion. (less)
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