Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Tom-All-Alone's by Lynn Shepherd

Tom-All-Alone's (edition 2012)

by Lynn Shepherd

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3444731,845 (3.65)53
Authors:Lynn Shepherd
Info:Corsair (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, crime, read 2012, C21, anglophone

Work details

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 53 mentions

English (47)  French (1)  All (48)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
To anyone who is a fan of Bleak House and/or A woman in White, I can highly recommend this book. Now to read more books by Lynn Shepherd. ( )
  Somerville66 | May 29, 2017 |
Written in the style of my favorites, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens. ( )
  JBSassypants | May 7, 2017 |
I was recommended this book because I like Caleb Carr's The Alienist and it's follow up The Angel of Darkness).

Set in Dickensonian England, this novel is a suspenseful read. The narration is an interesting twist to regular narrative book. I also liked the side story by Hester. I couldn't follow at first where it was going to go but I thoroughly enjoyed how the book was wrapped up and still left me wanting a bit more.

Some feel that the breaks in the narration, the break of the fourth wall, is a bit distracting but I had no problem with it. I think it's truly personal taste. The story, the characters, the mystery was much more interesting and kept me connected regardless.

Charles Maddox is quite an interesting character as is his great uncle who taught him about criminology. The other characters in the book were just as interesting each with their own personalities. I cannot stress how important this is for me - a story just isn't good unless the characters are individualized as possible.

I do wish that the end hadn't come up so quickly. I wasn't ready to put the book down. ( )
  wendithegray | May 1, 2017 |

Solitary House -Lynne Shepherd
3 stars

Charles Maddox is a uniquely gifted young man who is struggling to establish himself as a private detective in a Dickensian London. It is not a setting in an 1850’s London similar to one that Dickens created. It is the London setting that Dickens depicted in his great novel Bleak House. Charles Maddox has been contacted by the infamous Chancery lawyer, Mr. Tulkinghorn. Possessing a photographic memory and a strong sense of justice (much like Sherlock Holmes), Charles is dangerously entrapped in the Tulkinghorn’s evil intrigues.

In direct imitation of Bleak House the book is told through two voices. The story of Charles Maddox’s investigation is told in the voice of an omniscient narrator who occasionally injects an all-knowing and condescending 21st century commentary (reminiscent of Faber’s Crimson Petal and the White.) The second story line is told in first person diary entries by a character named Hester. Throughout both of these narratives it becomes apparent that the characters and events of the Dickens’ novel are proceeding simultaneously. In addition to Mr. Tulkinghorn’s role as Charles Maddox’s employer, other Bleak House characters make cameo appearances and occasionally play key roles. One final plot twist borrows characters and content from Wilke Collins’ Woman in White.

I am usually a fan of books, plays or movies which draw their inspiration from earlier works. I love to look at the intellectual process that transforms ideas into new images that can provide a different perspective. That is what I’d hoped to find in this novel. I can’t fault Ms Shepard’s knowledge of 19th century literature. As the omniscient narrator she makes sure the reader is aware of her research:

“It is as if a switch has been flicked – an analogy which is at least thirty years away, incidentally, though the snap of a magic lantern will do almost as well”

“(Charles)…….betakes himself to the nearest suitable establishment, a Victorian version of fast food known by the wonderfully descriptive name of a slap-bang – you slap down the money, and they bang down the food.”

I have to admit that the intertwining plot lines are very clever and excepting the 21st century side commentary, the atmosphere of the period is maintained. However, Ms Shepard claims that Solitary House is meant as homage to Dickens. I cannot help remembering how appalled Dickens was by unauthorized versions of his works and how hard he fought for copy rights. For me, Solitary House did not work as pastiche, or farce or as reinvention. It simply felt too much like plagiarism.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Powerful spin off novel from Dickens's Bleak House. This is very well written and shows a close eye for the minutiae of Victoria life, especially the seamy aspects. This book provides in effect a potential alternative interpretation of some of the events and characters in Dickens's classic novel, an interpretation which concerns themes of child abuse and exploitation and graphic Ripper-style killings, which Dickens would not have been able to have write for publication. There are also references to Wilkie Collins's Woman in White, which I have read but with the details of which I am rather less familiar. While I enjoyed the writing, it does leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth because of some of these themes and slightly besmirches my view of Bleak House itself - but it is a fascinating and well-executed literary exercise. ( )
  john257hopper | Jan 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lynn Shepherdprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cunningham, CarolineDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daniels, TimCover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klynstra, LauraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Was inspired by

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345532422, Hardcover)

Lynn Shepherd’s first acclaimed novel of historical suspense, Murder at Mansfield Park, brilliantly reimagined the time of Jane Austen. Now, in this spellbinding new triumph, she introduces an unforgettable duo of detectives into the gaslit world of Dickens.
London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.
On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.
To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.
But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.
Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: it plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:50 -0400)

Summoned to the offices of Victorian London's most powerful and dangerous solicitors, disgraced police officer turned independent detective Charles Maddox turns to his famous but aging investigator uncle to identify who has been sending threatening letters to a client.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Lynn Shepherd's book The Solitary House was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 avail.
65 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.65)
1 1
1.5 1
2 3
2.5 6
3 28
3.5 13
4 43
4.5 2
5 15

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,080,173 books! | Top bar: Always visible