As a new century approaches, Edinburgh is a city divided. The wealthy residents of New Town live in comfort, while Old Town’s cobblestone streets are clotted with criminals, prostitution, and poverty.
Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is no stranger to Edinburgh’s darkest crimes. Scarred by the mysterious fire that killed his parents, he faces his toughest case yet when a young man is found strangled in Holyrood Park.
With little evidence aside from a strange playing card found on the body, Hamilton engages the help of his aunt, a gifted photographer, and George Pearson, a librarian with a shared interest in the criminal mind. But the body count is rising. As newspapers spin tales of the “Holyrood Strangler,” panic sets in across the city. And with each victim, the murderer is getting closer to Hamilton, the one man who dares to stop him.
About the Author
Author Carole Lawrence is an award-winning novelist, poet, composer, and playwright. Among her published works are eleven novels, six novellas, and dozens of short stories, articles, and poems, many of which appear in translation internationally. She is a two-time Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee and winner of the Euphoria Poetry Prize, the Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award, the Maxim Mazumdar playwriting prize, the Jerry Jazz Musician award for short fiction, and the Chronogram Literary Fiction Award. Her plays and musicals have been produced in several countries as well as on NPR; her physics play Strings, nominated for an Innovative Theatre Award, was recently produced at the Kennedy Center. A Hawthornden Fellow, she is on the faculty of NYU and Gotham Writers, as well as the Cape Cod and San Miguel Writers’ Conferences. She enjoys outdoor sports such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and you can often find her cooking and hunting for wild mushrooms.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was given this ARC by NetGalley in return for an honest review. A serial killer, a detective with his own demons and lots of possible suspects and all set in one of the most captivating cities I ever had the pleasure of visiting. They combine to make for a great detective story that keeps the reader bound in its world long after the story is over. The characters were fully and richly developed. From the protagonist to the over enthusiastic want-to-be assistant, they all had character traits that kept the reader on their toes. A detective with a few issues that could annoy even the most understanding reader blurred the lines between a person doing good and being good in their own way. And with secondary characters that have their own flaws, it is a perfect ensemble to fill the story with intrigue and mystery. The plot was a typical murder mystery, but very nicely executed with enough tangents and little red herrings to maintain the readers interest without getting boring, but not too many to distract from the main purpose of the story. In addition, the reader obtains little snippets of the protagonist’s past and character to look forward to the next installment. The writing was very smooth with a seamless integration of imagery and technical explanation so as not to get too caught up in one or the other. Although, I have to comment on one thing I noticed in the latter part of the story: there was a bit of repetition in the descriptive words used, which took only slightly away from the narration. Overall, I loved this story and it stayed with me for almost a week after finishing it. If I had the sequel already, I would have started it immediately. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a good murder mystery, complex characters and Scotland at the turn of the century.
I downloaded this book free in exchange for an honest review and chose it just based on its cover. The picture and the title grabbed my attention and I hoped the story would hold my interest just as much. Happily, it did! Though there were a few slow parts that didn't seem to do much to further the plot, I found it hard to put this book down. I'm a big fan of mysteries, though the ones I normally read are set in present day, so it was a really interesting change for me to read one set over 130 years ago, and in Scotland, no less! It was also a change for me to read a book with a male protagonist. Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is a fascinating character with a complicated family history. He can be altogether too serious and focused on his job, which makes for a great detective. The supporting characters are pretty well developed and realistic, especially when you remember the time and setting of the story. There are hints and clues throughout the story about the culprit, but not too much to give anything away to the reader or the detectives on the case. I'm really excited that this is the first in a series, as I'm really interested in reading more!