Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell
Book 2 in the Thomas de Quincey series
ARC, 352 pages
March 24, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Source: Received from publisher as part of HFVBT tour
The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters.
Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.
This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul.
Brilliantly merging historical fact with fiction, Inspector of the Dead is based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.
When I started this book, I honestly couldn’t remember what had happened during Murder as a Fine Art – so I had no idea what to expect from reading this one. The only thing I remembered what that I had really enjoyed the previous book. And guess what, I really enjoyed this one too! I absolutely inhaled this one.
Thomas de Quincey, his daughter, Emily, and Scotland Yard men Ryan and Becker are all back and up to their necks in another murder mystery that is somehow surrounding Queen Victoria. The relationships and connections between these characters builds on the first book in a very natural manner. These are characters that I easily fell in love with during Murder as a Fine Art and just grew more dear. Again we travel from those seedy locales to the palace of the Queen and everywhere in between as Victorian London comes to vivid life in the pages of this book. Morrell is one of the best writers I have found to express the Victorian world in a way that is palpable to readers.
When looking back at my review of Murder as a Fine Art, one of the things that I found interesting was how my perception had changed over the style of the book. While reading the first book, I found that I did not really appreciate the shifting perspectives as well as the shift between narration and the journaling of Emily de Quincey. While reading Inspector of the Dead, I did like how these different sections were utilized to move the plot forward. I’m not sure if it is just that I was more used to the style after having read the first book or if the nature of the story being told just fit better with the style.
I never saw the resolution of this mystery coming – I actually was misled in another direction – which is a great mark of a mystery novel where they can tend to be very formulaic. I can’t wait to see what Morrell has up his sleeve for another book in this series as he finds these little nuggets of history to spin his mystery/thriller.
If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book? On Morrell’s website he has some great photoessays on the locations featured in the book – check them out (about halfway down the page)!
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by David Morrell:
David Morrell has written many contemporary set thrillers, of those, his historical thrillers are as follows:
Murder as a Fine Art (Thomas de Quincey book 1)
The Opium Eater (Thomas de Quincey short story)
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