Shepherd, Lynn - 'A Treacherous Likeness'
Towards the end of the year of 1850, the young Charles Maddox, a private detective takes on a new case involving the only surviving son of the late poet Percy B. Shelley and his wife Mary author of Frankenstein. The case involves the literary legacy of the long dead poet and doubts about the cause of the death of his first wife, Harriet. As he researches more into the past and questions people with memories of that time doubts start to surface as to whether Harriet actually committed suicide, as was supposed, but was in fact murdered. Shelley had a very complicated and avant-garde private life, as would be quite appropriate to a 1970s hippy but in the context of the early nineteenth century was thought extremely shocking. He was always on the move, changing addresses frequently and often accompanied by a wife and girlfriend moving around Europe. His creditors (he was frequently in debt) were always after him.
As Charles Maddox investigates further and further he becomes suspicious of the motives of his clients in hiring him and eventually guesses that his great-uncle, who was also a detective may have originally conducted an investigation of his own many years previously. However, his great-uncle has had a stroke and is an invalid without any verbal communication at all and Maddox has great difficulty in checking his past records of cases that he was involved with. Eventually, he locates a journal which proves very interesting and opens up to the reader the life and investigations of his grand-uncle, a detective who did his operations on a much broader scale than the young Charles Maddox with several staff to aid him.
This book was very interesting as in being a historical thriller written by an author with research skills second-to-none, writing a story set in a Gothic London that is both dark and foggy with its streets rat-infested and very dangerous; she has attempted also to bring her readers involvement into the story by making side comments drawing parallels to modern times,which I thought very helpful. I read her previous book TOM-ALL-ALONE'S, which I enjoyed very much and this new story is both gripping and fascinating and a marvellous read which I found difficult to put down. I'm looking forward to reading her next book already. Well Recommended.
Terry Halligan, England