Walking in Pimlico Paperback – 8 Jul 2010
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'Appearances deceive and secrets are deadly in this creepy murder mystery. Perfect for those darker nights!' (Debbie McQuoid, Look)
'Up there with the work of Angela Carter and Sarah Waters... a gripping and accomplished Victorian murder mystery. A wildly inventive romp through the lowlife of 19th-century England. Extremely hard to put down.'#include file="m63-article-related-attachements.html" (The Times)
'Smacks of period authenticity... written in a literary style that is of a far greater quality than the genre normally attracts... a compelling plot. Walking in Pimlico is an excellent debut novel.' (The British Theatre Guide Newsletter!)
'...an edge of authenticity near-enough second to none... Sarah Waters and Michel Faber would be well to watch out. As a rich and unflinching tapestry of a time lost to us, it truly excels, as a cracking murder mystery yarn, it proves unputdownable.' (The Speculative Scotsman)
A Victorian Murder Mystery for fans of Sarah WatersSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
The book deals with the intertwining stories of one Corney Sage, comic and clog dancer who has graced the stages of many a disreputable music hall and the somewhat mysterious Miss Phyllida Marweather, who is many things besides but I am not here to spoil your pleasure of reading this brilliant and bursting piece of outrageous fantasy fiction.
Ann Featherstone has adopted the great traditions of story telling and quoted the same within her text. She has Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe (and even Virginia Woolf) sitting at her shoulder as she writes as well as such contemporaries as Anne Perry and Sarah Waters.
Her tale is a deeply textured tapestry of intrigue, double-dealing `orrible murders; a picaresque confection that should satisfy any reader not only of the genre but also for the jaded reader who might be looking for something a little different, and different this book definitely is, I have not read anything quite like it before.
Ms Featherstone is a researcher (see her other books, essays and articles) and has woven that research into a thumping good read but unlike other writer of historical crime she does not let the research show, the narrative flows in an uninterrupted way that the likes of Dan Brown could only dream of.
I give the book 5 stars without any reservation as it ticks every single box as a great yarn, a captivating mystery, an historical insight and an unputdownable read
This tale is authentically written, with reference to the seedier parts of Victorian London, and use of traditional vernacular. Sinister, quiet, dark streets and alleys contrast with bawdy and colourful theatre interiors. Characters are mildly stereotyped (lovable rogues, heart-of-gold working girls, aloof toffs) but still very believable.
The murderer is identified quite early on, and some of the plot 'twists' are fairly obvious. Also, there are a number of somewhat unlikely coincidences as hunter and prey chance upon each other at various far-flung locations - but this is still a pretty enjoyable read, and rather out of the ordinary, amidst today's ten-a-penny formulaec chick lit novels and painfully forensic crime thrillers.
Dickens meets Jack the Ripper meets League of Gentleman! Recommended.
A colourful tale of murder and circus folk in Victorian England, this is certainly an authentic book. The author is clearly an authority on the subject, fleshing out the story with minor details that makes the world of Corney Sage come alive. His voice seems note-perfect, a sympathetic protagonist. The low-life landlords, show folk and prostitutes he mixes with are portrayed vividly, down to their blackened teeth and poor spelling, whilst the upper-class characters seem to inhabit a different world. Class is an important issue in respect to the identity of the killer, but I won't dwell on it here.
The viewpoint of the story alternates between characters, and the identity of the killer is quickly revealed to the reader. We learn the killer's motivations, and see how they plan to get away with their crimes.
But I have to admit that I didn't find this book very interesting. It took me a couple of weeks to read, which is very slow for me, and was never that keen to pick it up and find out what happened next, which isn't great for a crime novel. As a piece of historical fiction it works really well, although I found the ending a bit blurry and disappointing, told from Corney's viewpoint as he battles with illness, the story takes on a hallucinatory air that gave everything an uncertain feeling. More of a period piece than a riveting crime read.
The language of the book is that of the era, which took a little getting used too, but once we're into the story, it becomes natural. The plot involves many unexpected twists and turns, each adding to tension of the central plot device, but I did feel that at times the pace was a little lacking. I also felt that some scenes were included merely to allow the author to demonstrate her knowledge, adding little to the story. More positively, the villain is a satisfyingly complex mixture (literally - read the book and you'll know what I mean), who hunts down the 2 people able to link crime and perpetrator and the cat and mouse element provides the best parts of the book.
There's lots to recommend about this then, an involving storyline, interesting characters, authentic period detail and healthy doses of humour (mostly of the black variety) poignancy, pathos and passion. Reading like an updated "penny dreadful", this will thrill lovers of Victoriana.
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