Friday, June 8, 2012
Review: The Solitary House
Author: Lynn Shepherd
Length: 340 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Source: Publisher as part of Early Bird Reads
Synopsis (from Goodreads): London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.
On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.
To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.
But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.
Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: it plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.
My Review: The Solitary House was a gripping, if somewhat confusing, novel of suspense. Lynn Shepherd did an excellent job of making her reader feel as if they were a part of 1850's London. While reading this book I felt transported which always makes for a better read. As dreary a place as London in the 1850's could be, I enjoyed being there, feeling it, smelling it.
I found Charles to to be a bit naive/brash on occasions which caused me to feel a little upset with him at times. This, however, only took away slightly from the overall feel of the book. I loved how Shepherd used perspective in her writing. Writing as if we were an audience watching the story with her. The feeling that we were "in the know". I don't think I've ever read a book from that perspective before.I also must admit that Inspector Bucket became quite favorite at the end!
The sub-plot was introduced and played out in a very intriguing way. The ending was a surprise to me and I felt as if there were a few loose ends that weren't tied up. That being said, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in suspense, mysteries, historical London, and an overall good story. I am looking forward to reading Ms. Shepherd's first book, Murder at Mansfield Park!