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A Charles Dickens Investigation: The Murder of Patience Brooke

J.C. Briggs

Category: Mystery/thriller

Charles Dickens has set up a sanctuary for fallen women. When a young woman is found murdered outside the home, Dickens enlists the help of Superintendent Jones to find the murderer, a search which takes them deep into the dangerous slums of Victorian London. “A well-written novel… the evocation of foggy Victorian London is excellent.” (Historical Novel Society)

November, 1849. Outside Charles Dickens’s Home for Fallen Women in Shepherd’s Bush, somebody is singing the old song of Edmund, the poor peasant boy, one of Dickens’s favourites. The singer vanishes. On the steps leading to the kitchen door a woman is dead. The matron recognises the woman as Patience Brooke, her assistant. It is murder.

Dickens must be sent for, and his friend, Superintendent Jones from Bow Street – the Home cannot afford a scandal. A mute boy gives Dickens a clue about ‘a man with a crooked face’, a pedlar seen at the home a few days before, and a girl disappears from the home. Dickens begins to wonder if someone is setting out to ruin him.

“It feels very much like a traditional Victorian gaslight mystery, with footsteps in the fog, an unseen person with sinister voice singing a well-known tune… Put all these elements together and it creates just the right amount of suspense.” (Crime Fiction Lover)

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