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The year is 1890. Detective Sergeant John Billings is a Quaker. He sees God in everyone and takes other people's suffering to heart. He is an honest and hard working man who has risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of Scotland Yard's youngest detectives. But in his private life he struggles with the demons of loneliness, morphine addiction and homosexuality. While Scotland Yard is in the midst of foiling a Russian counterfeiting operation, Billings is asked to investigate the cold blooded murder of Lord Palmer. The main suspect is a rough looking vagrant called Brendan Lochrane who was employed by Lord Palmer to live as an 'ornamental hermit' in a grotto in his estate. When Billings visits Lochrane in his holding cell, he is moved by the look in the man's eyes. This is not the 'Wild Man' the press have made him out to be. Lochrane is mute, docile and unresponsive. A gut feeling leads Billings to suspect that the man is being framed. But who is framing him? And why? Billings travels the length and breadth of Britain investigating the case. As he pieces together the fragments of Lochrane's extraordinary life, he slowly finds himself becoming embroiled in a web of corruption and deceit which goes right to the heart of Scotland Yard. 'The Ornamental Hermit' is a thrilling mystery which leads the reader on a colourful journey into Victorian England. This is the 2nd book in the D.S.Billings Victorian Mysteries series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand alone story.
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The Ornamental Hermit based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
4-1/2 Stars I highly enjoyed this second installment in the DS Billings Mystery series, once again the fact that Billings is a gay man in a time when it is against the law is not the center of the story, although I do think that the detective is more likely to finally admit the fact that that is who he is to himself. The mystery is intriguing and his Quaker past does factor in when his foster family asks for his assistance, and the two cases may not be as separate as once thought. I look forward to seeing what future trouble DS Billings gets himself into.