On Hist Fic Saturday
Let's go back to ...London,1829
A young man returns to London from the family plantation in the Caribbean after an absence of six years to be at his father’s deathbed – and to inherit his estate. But is the new arrival who he says he is, or an impostor? Anyone who doubts his identity seems to meet an untimely end, but his sister swears that he is her beloved brother.With their investigations leading them into the complicated world of inheritance law and due process after death, Constable Sam Plank and his loyal lieutenant William Wilson come face to face with the death trade and those who profit from it – legally or otherwise. Among them is an old enemy who has used his cunning and ruthlessness to rise through the ranks of London’s criminal world. And, in this sixth novel in the series, it’s now 1829: as plans progress for a new police force for the metropolis, Sam and his wife Martha look to the future.
What did I think about it..
It’s always such a treat to kick off my shoes, brew a large cup of my favourite Darjeeling tea, and relax with the latest Sam Plank adventure, safe in the knowledge that I am about to enter into the life of this most intriguing of constables in another well imagined historical crime adventure. Heir Apparent is now the sixth book in the series and Sam and his wife, Martha are as familiar as old friends, as indeed, is young constable, William Wilson, who we have witnessed coming into his own in the last few stories.
In this penultimate book in the series, Plank and Wilson face an inordinate amount of mysterious deaths which seem to focus on the problems facing a well to do family and the return of a prodigal son. Dipping into the complicated process of inheritance law, both Plank and Wilson need to keep, their considerable, wits about them as they seek to find reasonable cause for doubt in a complex criminal case which gets more and more complicated which each successive turn of the page.
There’s an authenticity to the characters, particularly Sam, and his wife, Martha, which not only makes these stories such a joy to read, but which also gives such an imagined insight into life in the capital in the early 1800s so that it really does feel as though you are moving in tandem with Plank, Martha, and the intrepid Wilson as they go about their business, forever trying, and usually succeeding, to live their lives in the full glare of the criminal fraternity. Sam Plank is such an out and out good guy that you feel, entirely comfortable in his presence, and undoubtedly it is his strong reliability which brings these stories to glorious life.
Once again in Heir Apparent, the author has given us an adventure which takes us on a riotous journey through London, and beyond, into a dangerous criminal underworld of forged identity, dastardly dealings and general skulduggery. The historical research is impeccable, the nature of the crime is explained in minute detail and the way in which the mystery is solved is expertly concluded in a way which has you nodding your head in wry agreement. As always the author brings time and place vividly alive and it is no exaggeration when I say that the Sam Plank Mysteries are perhaps one of the best historical crime series I have read.
I had a little bit of a lump in my throat when I finished the story as it is obvious that there are significant changes on the way with the formation of the new Metropolitan Police Force, what this means for Sam, Martha and Wilson we must wait to find out in the last book in this exceptional historical crime series.
Read a fascinating interview with Susan here
Discover more about Susan's writing and the world of Sam Plank