The Solitary House
The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bantam;(July 30, 2013)
*Starred Review* Dickens fans will rejoice upon finding characters from Bleak House performing similar roles in Shepherd’s second historical mystery (following Murder at Mansfield Park, 2010) featuring Charles Maddox, thief-taker (a Victorian detective).This reworking of the masterful classic features crooked lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn, Inspector Bucket, Lady Dedlock, and the not-quite-right Hester (Esther in Bleak House), who begins her narrative with Dickens’ words, “I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write . . . for I know I am not clever.” A labyrinthine plot narrated in three voices reveals the underlying motivations and connections of these characters in a story of pervasive deviance so sinister that even those hardened to London’s nineteenth-century underworld will reel in shock. Maddox is manipulated by Tulkinghorn on behalf of the attorney’s wealthy clients to ferret out those who might expose a nasty secret; as the investigation progresses, Maddox finds himself and everyone he knows in the path of a psychotic killer. Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound by masterfully building suspense, creating a pervasively clammy and befogged atmosphere, and offering a cast of unforgettably peculiar characters, making the most of authentic, period language and a soupçon of subtle humor. Those who haven’t read Bleak House will be ready to have a go, while those looking for contemporary read-alikes should be encouraged to try Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith (2002)or Sara Stockbridge’s Grace Hammer (2009). --Jen Baker
I think I like mysteries.. in fact I am certain of it lol.
This one, as many I read, takes place in England. It is called "book 2" but in honesty I had no problem following the character or anything going on so I am saying I had no problem reading this as a stand alone book.
The booklist review is good... the book does have many touches of the very down trodden London area where the Ripper once did his slaughters. Some similarities to be sure but the characters and story held it's own no matter what.
This is a good read if one likes detective, murder, and mystery back in the Dickens days of England. I found another book using the same Detective Maddox in the used books and sent for it.. so I must have liked this one well enough eh?!