shortlisted for Book of the Month
Mystery / Thriller
late 18th C
A former actress and courtesan, Lucy Parmeter, is murdered in her home. Dan Foster, an officer of the Bow Street Runners, is assigned to assist Principal Officer John Townsend, a man for whom he has little time. The first mystery is why Townsend specifically asked for him. Townsend is convinced it is an 'inside job' and Pickering, the groom, is soon arrested when his alibi does not quite hold up. But Foster has misgivings as neither Pickering nor any other member of Miss Parmeter's staff have any motive. The people who may have a motive are those who have been featured - albeit anonymously – in Miss Parmeter's unpublished memoirs, which have been stolen along with some diamonds. Suspects include the Prince of Wales himself! Dan is obliged to interview members of the upper class, in whose presence he feels uncomfortable. But Townsend's opposition to his methods suddenly change and Dan discovers the reason why he was chosen. At the same time, Dan is trying to follow up the case he had to abandon – another young woman murdered in the slums of London. No one else seems to care – hence the title of the book. And then Dan's infant son is kidnapped ….. What I liked – and have liked in previous adventures – is that Dan Foster is a very human creation. He's rough and tough and knows all the criminal tricks and people from personal experience. He is also in a marriage that has had more downs than ups, though things seem to be improving. Ms Boyce takes us confidently into both halves of London; the magnificent houses, the members of High Society and their hangers-on alongside the thieves, prostitutes and street urchins of the Seven Dials, a slum area of Covent Garden. Her characters are well-drawn, the plot is tight and highlights the difficulties of an ordinary 'policeman' trying to make headway in the days when only the intuition, talents and determination of men like Dan Foster could hope to succeed. A very good read indeed. © Richard Tearle Note: pre-published ARC edition reviewed.