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Kasasian, M R C - 'The Curse of the House of Foskett'
Hardback: 320 pages (June 2014) Publisher: Head of Zeus ISBN: 1781853258

THE CURSE OF THE HOUSE OF FOSKETT is the sequel to THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS. It's 1882 and we are reacquainted with young March Middleton and her grouchy guardian Sidney Grice, London's foremost personal detective. The fall out from THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS has left Grice depressed and client-less with abuse at him being both printed in the press and shouted at him on the streets. Things begin to change when Mr Horatio Green pays them a visit.

Mr Green is a member of a "final death society" in which the survivor inherits monies from the deceased members of the group. In this case 70,000. Grice is involved, as one of the rules of the "Last Death Club" is that every death is to be investigated by Grice and he will receive a payment at the end of the Club's existence. The Club members include one Baroness Foskett, an old acquaintance of Mr Grice. When Mr Green topples over dead in Grice's sitting room, he has a new investigation to pursue.

March and Grice's investigations take them to visit the still living members of the Club though death follows closely behind them and the number of Club members dwindles.

The Victorian London March and Grice inhabit is raw in tooth and claw and there is a grim tone to the book as animals are taunted or tortured (off-screen) and even March and Grice's amusing banter has a sharp tone to it. They seem to be goading each other constantly and poor March's (alleged) ugliness is commented on by everyone she meets.

The resolution to who is behind all the deaths is well played and there are some clues scattered throughout which could lead towards the correction deduction by the reader. There are themes in common with THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS so it is worth perhaps, but not essential, reading that one first. Unfortunately Inspector Pound is sidelined this time round but more of Grice and March's pasts are revealed. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first book, mainly due to the tone and the slightly fractured nature of the investigation, however I eagerly await book three and am keen to find out more about our lead characters.

Karen Meek, England
June 2014

Karen blogs at Euro Crime.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 28/06/2014 14:57