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on 18 December 2011
I took a chance on this,it did not have any reviews and I usually let reviews, whether they be good or bad guide my purchases.In this case I am glad I trusted my instincts.
It really is a clever tale, written in a authentic, Victorian style that perfectly captured the life and times of that era.There is a sense that something is 'amiss' in the diaries of a murder,the police suspect it and so will you, you may guess the ending or you may not,but either way its a good twist.The clues are there to help you but very implicit,so be careful in your reading if you want to work it out.
Quite simply,a gem of a book,(sorry author for such a gross cliché!)but it is,it is now one of my my 'best' kindle finds and I will be looking out for this authors other works.
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on 19 September 2011
I have read every one of Lee Jackson's books, partly because I am fascinated by Victorian London and partly because I am familiar with most of the locations he writes about (I worked in the old Spitalfields Market, in Holborn and King's Cross and occupied an office in Islington). I knew the Farringdon area well (`A Metropolitan Murder') and also worked near the old Gamages Store (`The Mesmerist's Apprentice', `A Most Dangerous Woman' and `The Welfare of the Dead'). His website (Victorianlondon.org) is a mine of information for those interested in the subject, and his first book (`London Dust') is a must for anyone interested in the feel of Victorian London(see his non-fiction book, `A Dictionary of Victorian London').

More fascinating than his subject is how Lee's style has changed with each book; he is always evolving and one never knows what to expect. His latest book, 'The Diary of a Murder', is a case in point. His denouement is totally unexpected (I won't spoil it for you and the previous reviewer has revealed as much of the plot as it is safe to do) and the writing is absorbing and totally believable from the first page. His tale being located in real places and with recognisable characters gives this book a versimilitude that lends authenticity to his plot.

So, if you enjoy a rollicking good murder mystery, with totally believable characters and locations and are prepared to wait until the last page for a totally unexpected solution, this is the book for you! I hope Lee writes more of his mysteries and that his talents continue to evolve; they are both well worth waiting for.
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on 13 May 2012
This reads like an old fashioned morality tale, told through the eyes of Jacob Jones, a respectable, rather priggish clerk. As a tale of Victorian morals this story would stand on its own, but it has many layers and, in this tale of smoke and mirrors, all is not what it seems. Yes, as one reviewer has said, because of Jones' persona, this seems rather stilted, but stick with it and the author rewards you with a brilliant denouement, which takes your breath away in its audacity. This was a fascinating story, skilfully told and I look forward to reading many more from Lee Jackson.
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on 18 December 2011
This is such a well crafted story, moving smoothly between the diary and the murder investigation that I could not stop reading it. The Victorian details of the period were enough to paint a picture of the time without becoming tedious. The author is very skilled and I have read his other books with equal pleasure.

One thing only spoilt some of the enjoyment and that is that the second half of the book has so many typos - words missing or left in when they should have been deleted. It seems that the copy-reader must have got fed-up half way through and not corrected the second half of the book. Sloppy production - was this just the paperback edition I wonder. Still it did not spoil the story and is only a slight complaint compared with the excellence of the plot and an ending I did not see coming.
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on 4 February 2014
It wasn't a book that I 'couldn't put down'. Although I did want to keep reading it to find out what actually happened. I found the diary side of the book too long and the detective investigations too short. The diary (and I don't actually keep a diary so perhaps it me) is so long and written in so much detail that I kept thinking do people actually write their diaries like this. It wasn't a murder mystery with lots of twists and turns and different suspects. It felt more like a story being narrated. The only character worthy of a mention was the main character of Jacob Jones. I found the other characters uninteresting. I won't say what I had partially guessed (correctly I may add) but I didn't work it out fully, that said I personally found the ending a bit rushed and disappointing. Overall if honest I can't say I really enjoy it and wouldn't recommend to anyone as a 'you must read'. It wasn't dreadful, it wasn't a book I couldn't get into, its just an easy ok read.
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on 1 September 2011
The Willises are concerned because their married daughter, Dora Jones, has not disappeared after planning to visit them in Chelsea. When Sergeant Preston and a constable go to the Jones's home to investigate, they find the daughter brutally murdered and the pages of a diary scattered about. The diary is by Dora's husband, Jacob Jones, a clerk at the Crystal Palace. But Jacob appears to have fled the scene. Detective Inspector Delby is called in, and the story unfolds in chapters that alternate between Jacob Jones's diary, and the investigation by the inspector and the sergeant.

The story that follows reveals a doting husband, a humble clerk, who married above his station (Dora's father is a draper, and rich, and does not like young Jacob). Jacob gushes about his sweet wife, confesses his yearnings to be a writer, admits his frustrations with his in-laws, who seem snobbish and conservative. He also has an alcoholic father whom he has bailed out of financial difficulties more than once. A reader has to sympathize with his plight. And Dora's, as well, because when she miscarries, she goes into a deep depression, and Jacob hasn't a clue to how to pull her out of it.

But wait. His sweet wife knows nothing of Jacob's drunkard father. Jacob has invented entirely another background for himself. And how devoted is Jacob really as he showers the sweet Dora with pet names and repeatedly worries for her health? And is he the pushover he makes himself out to be when he helps a young seamstress living with his father find employment first with a neighbor, then in Papa Willis's work-room? And why does he aid his co-worker, Fortesque, who is in deep trouble over mismanaging company funds? You have to wonder about someone who knows himself so little. Likewise Delby and Preston scratch their heads continually over the ups and downs of Jones's diary as Jacob's own troubles mount, his writing grows more and more desperate - but sometimes calculating.

This is a good read to the last page, full of a multitude of surprises, and I didn't see the end coming at all.
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A Diary of a Murder is a real romp seen through the eyes of Jacob Jones' diary, all that is left to tell the story of his life when his young wife Dora is found dead at their home in Victorian Islington.

Jacob's diary reveals him to be a pompous man, a clerk at a finance house he hides his past including his alcoholic father. The police are trying to find him so resort to reading the diary he wrote for clues. The format of the diary entries means that the story moves quickly as he details the ups and downs of married life.

A book to be galloped through on a winters day and revel in the surprises the author provides.
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on 10 February 2014
This is my favourite author of all time, I need him to write faster as I have exhausted his library and am eager for more. This tale is just as gripping as ever. It is not a case of following the same template at all, this is completely different to the other books he has written. I would recommend it to everyone, such an enjoyable read and such a twist, I nearly missed my bus stopped on several occasions as I was so gripped to the story. Well done MR L Jackson, you make me very happy!
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on 8 December 2014
An absolutely addictive book. I purchased this on a whim and found myself eagerly reading at gone 3am. The diary entries are intriguing and I quickly found myself trying to guess what was being omitted or skewed by the writer. The only disappointing part of this book was reaching the last page, by which time I really felt as though I'd been transported back into the Victorian era and was eager for more. Will definitely be downloading more books in this series.
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on 9 February 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The last section threw me slightly, but I think that's because I wasn't expecting it at all.
I don't want to spoil the story but I like Lee Jackson's Mr Jones the best :-/

I would definitely recommend this book, it's well written (I love the archaic language), and has an unexpected ending. I'll be reading Lee Jackson's A Metropolitan Murder next!
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