Book review: The Secrets of Gaslight Lane

MRC KasasianI found the first few chapters of this book confusing and was still confused at the end. This is partly because it is fourth in the ‘The Gower Street’ detective series by MRC Kasasian and I haven’t read the previous three, but partly because the author seems to confuse the reader on purpose.

Two murders are to be solved, one new, one ten years earlier, involving the same family, in the same house. I got both events totally confused. March Middleton is the god-daughter of ‘personal detective’ Sidney Grice. It is London, 1883 and this series is billed as an alternative ‘Holmes and Watson’ detecting duo. Grice is a pedantic character, a bit like Sherlock Holmes but without the charm. I found his arrogance and language intensely irritating. March’s way of dealing with his rudeness is to plough her own furrow, defending herself and occasionally going her own way. I liked March, I kept reading because of her. We see the story from her point of view.

The duo is employed by Charity Goodsmile to investigate the murder of her father. Grice and Middleton visit the scene of the crime and what follows is told in minute detail, unlike any other detective novel I have read. Grice’s arrogant questioning of suspects is based on his super-human ability to analyse detail, but I wasn’t convinced. For example, when a suspect answers Grice’s question Grice says this answer is only one of the fourteen possible answers. He does not explain the other thirteen answers and I wonder if the author chose a number at random.

A little too pleased with its own cleverness and a little too long.

If you want to start at the beginning of the series, the first is The Mangle Street Murders.

If you like ‘The Secrets of Gaslight Lane’, try these other historical mysteries:-
‘The Quick’ by Lauren Owen
Anything by CJ Sansom
‘A Death in the Dales’ by Frances Brody

‘The Secrets of Gaslight Lane’ by MRC Kasasian [UK: Head of Zeus] Buy at Amazon

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