Friday, May 1, 2015

Inspector of the Dead

by David Morrell
337 pgs (Thomas DeQuincy series #2)

In 1855 the British government collapsed for a period of eight weeks. The crisis came about as a result of England's inept handling of the Crimean War. Soldiers were starving to death due to the lack of food sent to the front, they were dying from exposure to the elements from being forced to wear their summer uniforms throughout the winter, and they were dying from diseases due to the lack of proper sanitation. Overall more soldiers were dying because of mismanagement then because of the war itself. The level of frustration back in England became so high that a vote of no confidence took place in order to dissolve the government.

While the country is in a state of political chaos, a serial killer begins targeting high-ranking members of British society. As Scotland Yard detectives Ryan and Becker investigate each murder scene, they discover a series of cards being left by the killer. These cards allude to the killers ultimate goal--assassinating Queen Victoria.

Once again assisted by England's famed "opium eater" Thomas De Quincy and his caregiving daughter Emily, Ryan and Becker have to try to uncover the identity of the killer before he's able to accomplish his goal.

Morrell first introduced these characters in his last book Murder as a Fine Art, which I thought was a great book. This one is just as good. Morrell effortlessly combines historical figures (De Quincy) and historical events (actual assassination attempts on Queen Victoria) into a thriller that is both captivating and true to history. De Quincy is a fascinating character and the more I learn about him through Morrell, the more I appreciate just how ahead of his time he was.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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