Site Progress




New Releases

Author Websites









Jackson, Lee - 'The Welfare of the Dead' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by Joe Dunlop
Audio Cassette (2005) Publisher: Clipper Audio ISBN: 1845053710

Buy this from UK Audiobooks

THE WELFARE OF THE DEAD is the second in the Victorian Inspector Decimus Webb series, which currently stands at three.

Decimus Webb of Scotland Yard is called in by the regular City of London police force when the bodies of two murdered prostitutes are found in a brothel and a cryptic quote from the bible is left behind. The local officer, Inspector Hanson feels that the killer will strike again and seeks Webb's insight.

The brothel manager is the only one to have seen the killer go up to the girls' room and he soon disappears. A third murder of a 'loose' woman leads Webb to Benjamin Woodrow owner of Woodrow's General Mourning Warehouse, as the dead woman was employed there. Coincidences begin to mount up and it seems that Woodrow may know more than he's telling the police and may even be the killer himself.

As well as the murder case Webb and his Sergeant, Bartelby, are also investigating the grave robbing of a notorious businessman J S Munday. It becomes apparent that the two cases are related and revolve around the secretive Woodrow.

Victorian London is splendidly brought to life in THE WELFARE OF THE DEAD and the language used is richly formal. Nobody says 'yes', they 'assent'. I loved this phrase where the author describes the effect of the infamous London fog on newly arrived passengers at King's Cross station who seem quite unaccustomed to the opacity of a 'London particular'.

As to who is murdering prostitutes - though the suspect pool is very small - there are enough twists and turns to keep the listener guessing. The pace did seem to lag a little in the middle but the ending makes up for that.

Joe Dunlop's narration is clear and is a wise choice, as his voice seems to fit in well with the style and time period of the novel. He provides distinct voices for all the cast including a very young girl.

Karen Meek, England
March 2007

Karen blogs at Euro Crime.

last updated 23/03/2008 20:53