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If Charles Dickens had had the idea to create a purely Sherlock Holmes character, then Sidney Grice would have probably been it. Narrated by the young Miss March Middleton who is invited by Mr Grice to take up residence with him in London as his ward so she travels to his home, where Grice hopes to repay the very great favour her father did for him – although she is not told what this is.

And so March finds herself involved with his latest case, as she pays for him to investigate the murder of a woman by her supposed husband. Not a private detective, but as he says a personal detective so the game is afoot, but it most definitely looks as if the person arrested for murder is the correct person, despite the many naysayers. After all the evidence doesn’t show that anyone else could have committed the crime.

With more than a few nods towards Sherlock Holmes we also have a brief appearance by Conan Doyle in this book. With a tale of mystery and murder this is quite original and with plenty of humour. Grice, although honest is avaricious, a snob, not very sociable and really not that pleasant a person. Often helping the police he is acquainted with Inspector Pound although they cannot really be called friends as Grice has none.

There are some great characters here although to be honest with regards to the mystery you should have an inkling of what is happening long before the great detective. In a story that twists and turns this has a lot to offer readers, especially if you want a crime novel a little bit different and quirky. Miss Middleton stands out here though as the only really sensible character although one who is often looked down upon by others because she is a woman.

In all this makes for a very good piece of escapism where you find yourself chuckling along whilst you race towards the finish.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2014
An interesting take on the detective novel. Our detective,Sydney Grice, one-eyed, bad-tempered, full of his own self-importance and taken to drinking copious amounts of tea is asked to save a man from the hangman's noose. He is accused of killing his wife. The woman who wants to prove his innocence is his own mother-in-law.
Grice, a personal detective, is loathe to do this but his just arrived ward and god daughter, March Middleton, a very astute and strong-willed young woman, promises to pay him herself.
Grice takes on the case and as he uncovers evidence to support his belief, March is right there uncovering things he has not bothered looking into. They rub each other up the wrong way continually. He is pompous and a bit big-headed, she is just as stubborn and very independent minded.
The book does not shy away from the gruesome or the grizzly and the two characters are equally exasperating and interesting.
To add to the investigation there are snippets of a back story to March's previous life which, is obviously going to build as the books progress, I hope. There are good twists and turns leading you off down dead ends then sending you off somewhere else entirely.
I look forward to the next one.
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on 22 July 2017
Beguiling and amusing in equal measure this is a detective story set in Victorian London. If you are expecting Sherlock Holmes, watch out for a cameo of Conan Doyle, but that is all you will get. In this much more lightweight offering; we follow the case of the Mangle Street Murder as personal detective Sidney Grice and his ward March Middleton solve and re-solve it with a lot of bickering in between. The former is pompous and disagreeable whilst the latter is a delight (all the more so for her secret gin-swilling and cigarette smoking) but it is the interactions of these polar opposites that makes this just such an appealing read, for instance, here is Grice's appraisal of his ward March early on:

“It's a pity you are so poor and plain. And a shame you have such intelligence and spirit, Miss Middleton. You might otherwise make a man an acceptable spouse.”

Black humour abounds, along with macabre depictions of post-mortems and the murders that made them necessary. Well, the title hints that there will be blood! But don't be put off, this is a thoroughly enjoyable romp and I'm off out to buy the next installment.
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on 7 December 2017
If you like a good detective read well start reading this series of books that introduce you to private detective Sidney Grice and his ward March Middleton who comes to stay with Grice. The Mangle Street Murders is the first of a series of adventures set in 1880 s London After reading this great book i found that Sidney Grice and March Middleton had a slight similarity with Holmes & Watson.I am now coming to the end of the fourth book of the series "The Secrets of Gaslight Lane" and am looking forward to the next instalment.
Once you start reading this book bet like me you become hooked !
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on 1 June 2015
Loved this March Middleton is my new heroine,she helped her father who was an army surgeon then after her father died, her mother died in childbirth, she ends up as ward to Mr Grice personal not private detective. Set in the nineteenth century with all the horrors and filth of Victorian London, March accompanies Mr Grice in detecting who killed a young shop owners wife. His detecting skills and deductions are very much like Sherlock Holmes her ideas and suspicions are ignored or derided because she's a woman. Well written some good humorous parts you get to know a little of March' s back story bit by bit.She's also a bit racy for her time as she both smokes and drinks not that Grice approves so she hides the fact with perfume and Palma violets.The story is well paced with plenty of twists and secrets someone goes to the gallows for the murder thanks to Grice but was he innocent? Good characterisation of everyone from the maid to the police and good descriptions of hansom cab journies set the scene. I enjoyed this immensely a good story and good characters.
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on 3 June 2015
Just finished it and thoroughly enjoyed this hilarious novel I don't know if it was meant to be as funny as I found it but my word Sidney Grice (the main character and personnel detective) attitude and whit had me in stitches ... For me Jonny depp kept springing into my mind as a perfect cast of they ever made a film of this ... If your looking for a hoot get the book it's great.....

P.s it's got a few bad reviews in certain blogs for being inaccurate in its research and that the main character is not loveable therefor not enjoyable ... I say what a load of twonk ... Your not meant to love the main character he's an obnoxious rude get! So much so that its funny it's Sherlock Holmes spliced with victor meldrew
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on 7 July 2015
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book but as soon as I started it I was hooked. I love the writing style and the characters are just wonderful. The reader is thrown back in time to the grimy, politically incorrect London of the 1880s and as the investigation of the Mangle Street murders progresses we get to know Sidney Grice, Personal Detective and his ward March Middleton, a woman way ahead of her time.

I loved the underplayed and unexpected twist near the end when March consults a doctor after twisting her ankle. The book is written from her point of view and she soon learns how to deal with the grim and humourless Mr Grice. A number of peripheral characters are also a vital part of the story, Molly the maid, Inspector Pound and the often mentioned but never seen cook.

I was reminded of the Murdoch Mysteries TV detective series set in Victorian Toronto and the Gower Street Detective is crying out to be turned into a film or a series. I can't wait to read the next two books.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 November 2015
This entertaining Victorian romp introduces personal detective Sidney Grice, basically an exaggerated version of Sherlock Holmes, and his goddaughter and ward March Middleton in their first case together.

The investigation itself, which finds the duo on the trail of a vicious murderer who has stabbed a young wife forty times in a frenzied attack, is interesting enough (although it's solution is convoluted beyond belief) but the pleasure of this novel really comes from the interplay of the two lead characters. Grice is arrogant, thoughtless, selfish, greedy, a terrible snob and devoid of any trace of manners or understanding of social niceties. His barbed comments to all and sundry provide much of the amusement, but Miss Middleton proves to be his match: a young lady with a fondness for gin and cigarettes, a confident air and a keen observant eye, who is just as quick with a pithy retort as her guardian.

The supporting cast are well drawn too, including those that appear only briefly, and even the most gruesome scenes are laced with black humour. The novel is so full of wit and charm that it scarcely matters the plot is wildly unconvincing at times. Great fun.
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on 29 November 2015
When March Middleton goes to live with her guardian, the 'personal' detective Sidney Grice, she is faced with two problems: firstly, how is she ever going to live in the same house with a man so annoying, so irritatingly contrary and so stuffed with self-importance that she can barely get a word in edgeways? More significantly though, how is she to persuade the detective to take on the case of a young wife who has seemingly been stabbed to death by her quiet and unassuming husband?

This is a wonderfully grimy detective story in the tradition of Holmes and Watson, though with more grime, a sprinkling of sexist policemen and a distinct lack of meat at meal times. M. R. C. Kasasian paints a vivid portrait of Victorian London, complete with beggars, blind match-sellers and wig-wearing Italians. The writing style was at times a little disconcerting - seeming to jump about a bit, but that's probably just me, and in any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will definitely be reading more by this talented author.
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on 2 April 2015
Ever read a book that seemed familiar but all the characters are 'not right'? This is the book. Portraying a Victorian detective and his assistant who helps the police solve their more difficult cases. But here the detective is very different to Holmes, the assistant is a feisty young woman who, though inexperienced, picks up on many aspects that her mentor ignores. The police are intelligent, just lacking in forensic knowledge. Interesting that the setting is the really dark side of the East end which Conan Doyle never really showed, with echoes of the (later) Ripper murders in squalid streets and living conditions. The little match girl is very poignant.
Overall, a good story, fascinating characters, a plot truly worthy of the great detective and some really surreal devices and inbuilt humour. Will definitely buy more of this series.
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