Reviewed by Caleb Shadis
Inspector of the Dead is the second book in the De Quincey murder mystery series. Thomas De Quincey was a real person in the British empire in 1855 and a rather infamous one at that. This is a fictional account of the man, but the author tried to make the character act as close to his namesake as possible.
Thomas De Quincey, author of the infamous autobiography Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and the scandalously titled Postscript (On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts), is in London getting ready to go back home to face his creditors, to the relief of his temporary benefactor Lord Palmerton.
Before his departure, De Quincey goes to church with his daughter Emily and two policemen (detectives Ryan and Becker). They befriended the policemen earlier when Emily helped to nurse them back to health. Just as the service is beginning, a murder appears to happen right under the nose of the presiding minister. No one saw the murderer come or go, but there is a dead woman with her throat cut and plenty of blood all around. The two police officers take charge of the situation and with the help of the famous war hero, Colonel Trask, they are able to question everyone about what they witnessed, which isn’t much.
Becker is sent to the home of the victim to notify the relations of the murder, only to find a slaughterhouse. This turns out to be just the beginning. Not only that, but it looks like Queen Victoria was supposed to be the final target of a serial killer out for revenge.
De Quincey doggedly followed the clues, both physical and psychological, to try and track down the brutal killer.
I found this to be a great murder mystery and thought it was very well done with a lot of research into London of the time period. The author even had a map of London from that time period so that readers could accurately follow characters through Victorian London. I very much plan to read the first book, Murder as a Fine Art, and will also keep my eyes open for any further adventures of this sleuth.
Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.
Review copy was provided by Hachette Book Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.