Kenneth's Reviews > The Solitary House

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd
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Feb 13, 12

bookshelves: first-reads, historical-fiction, favorites, crime-sleuth-mystery
Read from February 05 to 12, 2012

Through the dim grimy haze of gas-lit London, a mystery unfolds, dark and gripping and more than winking at classic British detective mysteries. Charles Maddox is a detective, fired from the police force for the crime of being smarter than his boss. Trained largely by his famed uncle, Charles is no genius, but his insights are enough to give him an instinctive, paranoid distrust of authority. This comes heavily into play when he is hired by the insidious attorney, Tulkinghorn, who pays him to find a man who almost immediately winds up dead. In over his head from the beginning, Charles must answer the questions: Who is sending these threatening letters? What game is Tulkinghorn playing at? And, perhaps most importantly, who is trying to kill him?

For atmosphere, The Solitary House is hard to beat. From the first page, the reader is engulfed in the dank underworld of 1850 London. Characters, even sketchily-drawn auxiliaries, leap off of the page (admittedly aided by inspiration from Dickens and Collins, among others, but fleshed out in ways that are truly original). The story is well-paced and only forgets itself in a few anachronistic narrative asides which are easily accepted as part of the author's choice of perspective.

This book is dense for its 350 pages, and truly a pleasure to read.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First-Reads. Thanks.
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02/06/2012 page 45
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