Description (from publisher):
‘In Susanna Calkin’s atmospheric debut novel, a chambermaid must uncover a murderer in seventeenth-century plague-ridden London.
For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and Lucy’s brother is wrongly arrested for the crime. In a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers are permitted to defend their client, and–if the plague doesn’t kill them first–public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never see her brother alive again. Unless, that is, she can identify the true murderer.
Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers’ shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer.’
I’m sure most of you know of my love for historical mysteries and I was so excited to read this one. I really enjoyed this one. It was a light and thoroughly engaging mystery that had elements of suspense, which made it really hard for me to put it down. I loved Lucy’s character. She is a maid in a well-off household and when one of her fellow maids is murdered, she is determined to find justice for her friend. However, she didn’t exactly plan on her brother being named the prime suspect. She must figure out who killed her friend, before her brother meets the hangman’s noose. The deadly plague is rampant throughout this story and the reader has to wonder if the characters will make it through.
Historically, this book was right on par. Nothing too unfamiliar for the time period and I felt like it was point on with the historical details. The fire of London in 1666 as well as the two comets that passed each other in the sky around the same time were present in this book, so I really felt that the author did her historical research. I’ve read a lot of books in this time period and these minor details are important to someone like me who loves history and appreciates historically accurate books. This one was a real page turner and kept me occupied until the very last page. I will say that I did figure out the murderer pretty early on, but maybe that’s because I read a lot of mysteries? It wasn’t blatantly obvious, but it did bother me that it wasn’t all that complicated to figure out.
If you appreciate historical mysteries, heavy on the historical element, then this is the book for you. I think Calkins did a fantastic job on her debut mystery. I think that I saw somewhere that this is the first in a series, and if so, I cannot wait to read the others. They promise to be just as entertaining as this one. The ending leaves the reading with a sense that there might be a sequel coming soon, but I guess we won’t really know until word gets out about a second book. I am hoping that this is the beginning of a series because the characters have a lot of potential and I love that time period. I hope some of you get a chance to read this brilliant debut novel.
Overall Rating: 4.5
About the Author:
Susanna Calkins became fascinated with seventeenth century England while pursuing her doctorate in British history and uses her fiction to explore this chaotic period. Originally from Philadelphia, Calkins now lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two sons. This is her first novel.
This has been a stop on the ‘A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate’ book tour presented by Cozy Mystery Book Tours. Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour as some are offering giveaways of this book!
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a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.