From award-winning author Laura Joh Rowland, a story about the darkness that lurks within and the deadly secrets that beg to be revealed.
Intrepid photographer Sarah Bain and her motley crew of friends are back to hunt criminals in the dark, seedy underbelly of Victorian London, but little do they know, the darkness may lurk closer than they first divined.
Photographer Sarah Bain and her friends Lord Hugh Staunton and sometime street urchin Mick O’Reilly are private detectives with a new gigphotographing crime scenes for London’s Daily World newspaper. The Daily World is the latest business venture of their sole client, Sir Gerald Mariner, a fabulously wealthy and powerful banker.
One cold, snowy January morning, Sarah, Hugh, and Mick are summoned to the goriest crime scene they’ve ever encountered. A pub owner named Harry Warbrick has been found hanged and decapitated amid evidence of foul play. His murder becomes a sensation because he was England’s top hangman and he’s met the same fate that he inflicted on hundreds of criminals.
Sir Gerald announces that the Daily Worldmeaning Sarah and her friendswill investigate and solve Harry Warbrick’s murder before the police do. The contest pits Sarah against the man she loves, Police Constable Barrett. She and her friends discover a connection between Harry Warbrick’s murder and the most notorious criminal he ever executedAmelia Carlisle, the “Baby-Butcher,” who murdered hundreds of infants placed in her care.
Something happened at Amelia’s execution. The Official Secrets Act forbids the seven witnesses present to divulge any information about it. But Harry had a bad habit of leaking tips to the press. Sarah and her friends suspect that one of the other witnesses killed Harry to prevent him from revealing a secret related to the execution. What is the secret, and who hanged the hangman?
|Publisher:||Crooked Lane Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Laura Joh Rowland is the award-winning author of the samurai detective Sano Ichiro mystery series set in 17th century Japan, as well as a historical suspense series starring Charlotte Bronte. Her work has been published in 21 countries; nominated for the Anthony Award, the Hammett Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award; won RT Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award; and been included in the Wall Street Journal’s list of the five best historical mystery novels. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She is a former aerospace scientist, a painter, and a cartoonist. She lives in New York City with her husband Marty. This is her third Victorian mystery.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Hangman's Secret: A Victorian Mystery based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
This is my first experience with Sarah Bain and her friends Lord Hugh and Mick. They are working for Sir Gerald of the Daily World newspaper. They are called to photograph the murder of The Hangman Harry Warbrick’s body, himself hanged and decapitated. The newspaper introduces a contest to find the murderer but they have competition in ruthless reporter Malcolm Cross. They are lead on a chase of many red herrings but it always comes back to the haunting place of Newgate Prison and the secrets it keeps. This is a fast paced thrilling mystery with even some of the horror of places in Victorian Britain brought to life. It will be well worth following the life of our three musketeers. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
London in the 1890s is damp, dark and smoky. The perfect setting for a villainous mystery. Sarah Bain is a photographer, quite an unusual occupation not only in that time, but especially for a woman. Sarah works for the local paper, the Daily World, and is at the beck and call of its editor, Sir Gerald Mariner. Sir Gerald likes to publish stories that sell, or the early edition of today’s tabloids. Sarah is often sent to grisly scenes of murder that would cause even the strongest of men to cringe. Yet Sarah is one plucky woman. She isn’t daunted by much. Sarah lives in a house with Mick O’Reilly, a fourteen year old former street urchin; Lord Hugh Staunton, one dashing gentleman; and Fitzmorris, Lord Hugh’s valet who also stands in as cook, housekeeper and anything else needed. Mick is supposed to be going to school, but he prefers to hang out with Sarah and Lord Hugh carrying equipment and solving crimes. In this book, Sarah is awakened by someone calling her to a crime scene of one Harry Warbrick, a hangman who is hanged by his own rope. Harry also runs a local pub below his residence. Sarah records the scene of the crime, but is not convinced of the guilt of the man they arrest. Sarah decides to investigate her own leads, along with Hugh & Mick. With this they are off on a dangerous mission to unearth the truth. This is the third book of the Victorian Mystery series by Laura Joh Rowland. I had not read the previous two books, and this book can definitely stand on its own. Once you’ve enjoyed one of the series, my bet is that you would probably enjoy the others. I am looking forward to catching up with Sarah, Lord Hugh and Mick in the other books.
When I first read the blurb for The Hangman’s Secret, I was undecided if I wanted to read this book or not. While I like mysteries, I have to be in the right mood to read them. But, seeing that the book was set in one of my favorite time periods (The Victorian Era), I decided to take a chance on reading it. While I am glad I took the chance on reading it, I was unimpressed with the book. It didn’t surprise me or astonish me. I was a little disappointed in it. The plot for The Hangman’s Secret was a good one. Sarah and her friends are dispatched to a crime scene by the paper’s owner, Sir Gerald Mariner. There has been a gruesome murder. Sarah, a crime scene photographer, arrives on the scene to find out that the victim was a hangman. Pushed into solving this murder before the police, Sarah finds out that the victim was the hangman for a notorious baby murderer. She also finds out that something happened at that hanging. Whatever that was, someone was willing to kill the people who were at the hanging to keep them quiet. Can she solve it? Or will her reputation, her relationship, and friendships be ruined? Also, will she be able to finally track down her father? Or will she discover something about her past? While I enjoyed reading The Hangman’s Secret, I felt that it dragged in spots. Mainly in the middle. I was mentally urging the characters to do something to bring the plot out of its lag. Which happened but I almost DNF’d the book before it happened. Also, the beginning was slow. There was too much time discussing the characters backgrounds and storylines from the earlier books. I am here to read this book, not to read about Sarah, Mick and Hugh’s adventures with Jack the Ripper and kidnappers. If that could be cut back a bit, the beginning wouldn’t be so slow. Sarah bothered me. Because this is Victorian England, I get that she should have been a little reserved. But she wasn’t. She was determined to be an independent woman. Which was unheard of in those days. She was the one that Sir Gerald talked to when he wanted something done. She was the one that took on the job of finding her father. She called the shots in her relationship. It was unheard of in those days for a woman to have as much power as she did. I hate to say this (because I am all about girl power) but I wished she was more like women of that era. Because it was not realistic the way she was. I liked the mystery angle of the book. The author did a great job at keeping the identity of the killer hidden until the end of the book. I did think it was going to be one person and I was surprised at who it was. I did feel that all the red herrings and false leads weren’t needed. The whole Cross angle of the mystery didn’t do it for me. It actually made me aggravated that one person could be so nasty. As for the mystery of Sarah’s father, it was well done. But there were more questions than answers. The romance between Bennett and Sarah screamed of dysfunction and took away from the story. While I appreciated that Sarah had someone to love her, I didn’t like that it became a focal point in the plotline towards the end. I also didn’t like how Sarah was judged on her looks. It wasn’t even other people, she put herself down. The author tied the storylines up nicely at the end of the book. I thought that the ending went on a little longer than I thought. There was no big twist. I also had questions about DCI Reid. Where did he go? There was no mention about him at the end of t
3.5 stars I am fascinated by the Victorian Era, and this series has been on my wish list since it began so I jumped at the chance to read this third installment, THE HANGMAN’S SECRET. With its plucky protagonist, heaps of atmosphere, and an intriguing mystery, the book did not disappoint. Sarah, a professional photographer, and her friends Lord Hugh Stanton and Mick O’Reilly have formed an investigative team of sorts, having had success with prior cases (books one and two). They are hired by Gerald Mariner to take photos of crime scenes for his newspaper. When they are called to the particularly grisly scene of pub owner and hangman Harry Warbrick’s death, a competition soon erupts between the investigators and the police to see who can solve the case first. This is particularly hard for Sarah as her love interest is part of the police force. The investigation leads to a cover up at the prison involving the hanging of notorious baby killer Amelia Carlisle. Time is against them as more people connected to the hanging die. I enjoyed every twisty turn in THE HANGMAN’S SECRET. The pace is a bit slow in the beginning but quickly picks up, as does the tension in the tale. Rowland successfully weaves historical figures and places into the story, giving it some gravitas. The characters are a little outlandish, but here is where the fun lies. They are so eccentric, one cannot help but root for them. In addition to the main murder mystery, there is an ongoing subplot about Sarah’s father and her romance with Constable Barrett that fills out the book. THE HANGMAN’S SECRET is darker than a traditional cozy mystery, but I think any mystery reader, especially fans of historical mysteries, will enjoy time spent with Sarah and crew. I received a copy of this title from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
Rowland's Victorian Mystery #3 is the Hangman's Secret. I got along okay reading this as a stand alone but am tempted to pick up the prior two because these characters are amazing. Set in London and Jack the Ripper time - women were considered like children - "To be seen and not heard". Sarah Bain is a newspaper photographer for the "Daily World" Gathered around her are a group of men with a zest for solving murders. It is enlightening to read these stories where life did not revolve around cell phones and the internet. Times were filled with hardships and challenges. Opening pages describe the hanging of a man who performed hangings for a living. Kind of ironic. Rowland weaves conflict of good against evil with both struggling to stay alive. Loved the duo plot lines that connected up before the end. "A copy of this book was provided by Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."