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Grave expectations
2019
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Summary
London, June 1835- In the interest of being a good neighbor, Charles checks in on Miss Haverstock, the elderly spinster who resides in the flat above his. But as the young journalist and his fiancee Kate ascend the stairs, they are assaulted by the unmistakable smell of death. Upon entering the woman's quarters, they find her decomposing corpse propped up, adorned in a faded gown that looks like it could have been her wedding dress, had she been married. A murderer has set the stage. But to what purpose?

As news of an escaped convict from Coldbath Fields reaches the couple, Charles reasonably expects the prisoner, Ned Blood, may be responsible. But Kate suspects more personal motives, given the time and effort in dressing the victim. When a local blacksmith is found with cut manacles in his shop and arrested, his distraught wife begs Charles and Kate to help. At the inquest, they are surprised to meet Miss Haverstock's cold and haughty foster daughter, shadowed by her miserably besotted companion. Secrets shrouded by the old woman's past may hold the answers to this web of mystery. But Charles and Kate will have to risk their lives to unveil the truth . . .
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Booklist Review
Before Charles Dickens made it big as a novelist, he was a journalist, and in his spare time, at least in Redmond's imagining, he and fiancée Kate Hogarth were amateur sleuths. In this second in an atmospheric, absorbing series (after A Tale of Two Murders, 2018), the couple finds Dickens' genteel upstairs neighbor dead, a corkscrew through her neck. The murder adds to young Charles' woes: his earnings are depleted by his hard-living father, the rent on rooms that are closer to his beloved Kate are pricey, and he is committed to not leave destitute children to fend for themselves. Solving the crime brings him further toward the brink of ruin, with his privileged fiancée little help, but it also edges readers closer to Victorian London, whose odors and depravities seep from the pages. Suspicion of Jewish Londoners was a feature of the times and is portrayed here, though Dickens himself is shown as kind to all. An unexpected resolution to the crime closes a worthy read that provides some armchair time travel and is great for fans of Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May series.--Henrietta Verma Copyright 2019 Booklist
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