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A Killing Kindness: A Charles Dickens/Harry…
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A Killing Kindness: A Charles Dickens/Harry Pilgrim mystery

by J. J. Durham

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Recently added byRowenaHoseason

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Author JJ Durham has created a convincingly unpleasant evocation of Dickensian London and populated it with intriguing central characters.

Dickens himself isn’t the lynchpin of the investigation: no, that’s Harry Pilgrim, one of the capital’s first police detectives. And Harry has a serial killer on his hands – someone who takes great glee in sending bloody body parts from his victims to Scotland Yard, accompanied by enigmatic notes written in red ink…

Leaving aside the tip of the hat to the legend of the original Ripper, A Killing Kindness rapidly develops its own mythology and a satisfying narrative. The victims are far more varied than JTR’s fallen women, and it soon becomes apparent that there’s a method to the mayhem, if only the investigators could find it. This is a proper whodunnit with subtle clues seeded throughout, along with some sizeable red herrings too, for those readers who like to pit their wits against the author’s imagination.

(For more thoughts on the characters and plot, see
http://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/a-killing-kindness-a-serial-... )

The style of writing is modern and not ‘period’, so this book is easy to read and accessible without being stilted or feeling artificial. Inevitably, the police detectives are working to a deadline and must solve the case before the men from the ministry pull the plug; one of several familiar plot devices which serve to increase the pressure on the detectives but which hardly stretch the imagination.

However, the social commentary, inter-class tensions and relentless urban poverty of 1800’s London are all well represented and deftly handled. The murders are suitably gruesome; the mystery is undeniably intriguing. Harry Pilgrim’s past casts a long shadow over these proceedings and I’d certainly be happy to read another investigation with him at the helm.

Recommended for readers who enjoy the Brother Cadfael or Matthew Shardlake series.
7/10
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  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
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