Tom-All-Alone's (Charles Maddox 2) Paperback – 6 Sep 2012
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A brilliant and sinister re-make of Bleak House, exposing the vicious underworld of Victorian London. Totally gripping. (John Carey)
A necessary eye for squalor, meticulous research and deft plotting, as well as the ability to handle the difficult God's-eye-view narration with aplomb...you'll be guaranteed to enjoy. (The Guardian)
It s a highly compelling, immaculately written 19th-century murder mystery. (Independent on Sunday)
A grisly period detective story with a light-hearted literary conceit (The Times)
Beautifully written..Shepherd has perfectly caught the tone of voice, ranging from the lawyer Tulkinghorn to Esther Summerson and Inspector Bucket, and describes the horrors of nineteenth century slums more candidly than any Victorian novelist ever could...an absorbing read (Literary Review)
An intelligent, gripping and beautifully written novel which sparkles with bibliophilic glee (The Scotsman)
I can think of no better way to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens than to recommend Tom-All-Alone's. This terrific Victorian mystery begins in dense fog, like Bleak House, and has an unemployed detective reluctantly obeying a summons to the rat-infested London churchyard of Tom-All-Alone's. The corpse of a newborn baby awaits him, marking the start of a case whose Dickensian horros are twinned with a sophisticated understanding of nature of sexual predation. (Joan Smith The Sunday Times)
a gripping thriller. (Woman & Home)
A joyful pastiche of the 19th-century novel. Set in 1850, it occupies a fictional space between Bleak House and The Woman in White. An omniscient 21st-century narrator hovers in the manner of John Fowles in The French Lieutenant's Woman. This is very much a crime novel, with some very nasty crimes indeed, but it's also a witty, literate entertainment that lets the reader play Spot-the-Reference. (Andrew Taylor The Spectator)
There has recently been a rash of crime novels that are sequels or adaptations of classic fiction, mostly leaving long-dead authors turning in their graves. Shepherd's ingenious riff on Dickens's
Bleak House is an exception, a clever and playful mystery stuffed with references to the works of several eminent Victorians.
Tom-All-Alone's is a dark and gripping Victorian murder mystery, immersing the reader in a grim London underworld.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The main reference is of course to Bleak House, but to set oneself up for a comparison to Dickens and then not to include any of the fun and joyousness that lightens the tone of even Dickens' darkest novels seems a strange decision and one that didn't work for me. Again, as she did in Murder at Mansfield Park, Shepherd twists the characters and plot of Bleak House but this time in a way that really grated. In MAMP, she gave us the enjoyable character of Mary to replace those characters she had made unlikeable - in this novel, I found all the characters unlikeable. And the irritating omniscient narrator device, constantly dragging us forward to the present day to look back on Victorian London with an air of smug superiority, became a really annoying distraction as the book wore on.
The first half of the book meandered along without giving us a real idea of what the detective Charles Maddox was trying to investigate - was it the disappearance of his sister, the deaths of the babies in the churchyard, the Tulkinghorn connection?Read more ›
Such a pity---Charles Maddox was an engaging character and I'd have liked to have known more about Molly. I'd have much preferred it if these characters had been allowed to live and breathe outside of the Dickensian framework.
A good book, but ultimately, the use Lynn Shepherd made of the characters Dickens created wasn't to my taste and I have considerable doubt as to whether books of this kind are a legitimate form of homage. I suspect someone who hasn't read 'Bleak House' will enjoy it more than someone who has!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Curious mixture of narrator intruding on the text and generally unclear plot development. Only redeeming feature was the picture painted of life in Victorian times, especially for... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rosemary Davis
An intriguing and original plot structure tagged on fairly effectively to Dickens's 'Bleak House'. Superbly recreates the atmosphere of Victorian London, and Charles Maddox is a... Read morePublished 9 months ago by 'Fountain Pen'
Tom-All-Alone's has an interesting premise, being a Victorian murder mystery that interweaves its tale and its characters with those of Dicken's Bleak House and Wilkie Collin's The... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mr Blue Sky
Tom-All-Alone's can be read without ever having familiarised yourself with Bleak House. However if you have read it, I would suggest that you sit back and enjoy reading a story by... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Josephine
I failed to become involved with this novel mainly because I found it dull and tedious. Forgetting the connection to Bleak House which I have not read I thought this book was a run... Read morePublished 22 months ago by nickyb
according to lynn shepherd you don't need to read a book to critique it, so this must be very poorPublished on 9 April 2014 by Viffer
I wont dignify this hack with the courtesy of commenting heavily on her book save to say its nothing special. At least ive read the books. Read morePublished on 9 April 2014 by Anthony Cunningham
Unfortunately this author believes that other top authors should cease writing novels once the have been successful. Read morePublished on 9 April 2014 by Mr David Stafford