|Random House Publishing Group|
We began before thick in autumn fog; we open now in the fury of a west and winter wind.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, is the premise of this latest book in the Maddox series of Victorian crime novels by Lynn Shepherd. In A Fatal Likeness the author has again used the rather meandering style of narration which takes us by the hand and leads us this time through the intricacies of the convoluted story of Percy Bysshe Shelley, his deceased first wife Harriet, and his second wife Mary, author of Frankenstein. Young detective, Charles Maddox is once again swept into a mystery of mammoth proportions which threatens the very core of the elite of Victorian literature. However, with his usual tenacity, and with a supporting cast of rather splendid characters, who flit into and out of the narrative with accustomed ease, Charles sets out to discover the truth behind the Shelley mystery.
Beautifully reminiscent of London in the 1850s, the story abounds with an almost Dickensian fervour, from the darkness of mental illness, to the sorrow of infant mortality; the whole gamut of human endurance can be found closeted within the obsessive culture of Victorian morality.
Whilst it is entirely possible to read A Fatal Likeness as a standalone mystery, from a continuity perspective, it would be better to start the stories from the beginning of the Maddox series, with Murder at Mansfield Park, and Tom-All Alone’s also known as The Solitary House (Corsair 2012) .
My thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group , Bantam Dell for this review copy
This book featured on my Friday Book Beginnings on 30 August 2013