Mick Finlay


"A very strong start to an original and intriguing premise. "


It is London 1895. Sherlock Holmes is the favoured sleuth of the rich and powerful when the conventional police force cannot provide answers. Others turn to Arrowood, a private investigator without the contacts of Holmes, but one who believes himself to be superior and more thorough than his illustrious competitor.

Arrowood has studied psychology, lives in straitened circumstances and occasionally indulges in an over-enthusiastic bout of drinking. He is kept on the right path by his assistant, Barnett, and then by his sister, Ettie.

He is called in to help a young French woman searching for her brother who has disappeared whilst working for the one man that neither Arrowood nor Barnett want to entangle themselves with again. As they investigate further it is clear that many people in the case are lying.

Prostitution, trafficking, Irish nationalism and American Fenians are all mixed up in the search for Thierry and both Arrowood and Barnett suffer in the process.

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Sherlock Holmes is the flavour of the month and there seem to be several books out now with a twist on the great man. This one has an original slant and does not really involve Holmes except when Arrowood reacts forcefully to any mention of the famous sleuth. The underbelly of Victorian London is explored - not a lot different from now, only different protagonists. The story is complex and is carefully crafted together, culminating in an exciting end, but with sufficient strands left to encourage the reader to follow up in the next book. A very strong start to an original and intriguing premise.

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