Friday, September 2, 2016

The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton

book cover
The Sculthorpe Murder
by Karen Charlton

ISBN-13: 9781503938243
Paperback: 306 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Released: August 30, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office.

Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.

Uncovering decades of simmering hatred and deceit, Lavender and Woods must use all their wit and cunning to solve this evil crime.

My Review:
The Sculthorpe Murder is a mystery novel set in March 1810 in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire in England. It's the third book in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this story did not spoil any previous whodunits.

The characters were engaging and had realistic reactions to events. Constable Wood's past is developed in this story. The vivid historical and setting details made the story feel unique to that time and place. There were a few details that aren't correct for the period (like the word "Detective" wasn't invented for another thirty or so years), but I was impressed overall.

It was a clue-based mystery with plenty of secrets to be uncovered. I guessed much of what was going on before Lavender explained things. However, I got the feeling from the questions he asked and things he looked for that he had the same suspicions when I did.

There was a fair amount of bad language. There were no sex scenes (though descriptions of a barmaid got mildly sexually graphic when she interacted with patrons). Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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