Sunday, August 18, 2019

Grave Expectations by Heather Redmond

book cover
Grave Expectations
by Heather Redmond

ISBN-13: 9781496717160
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington
Released: July 30, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
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 fiance 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.

My Review:
Grave Expectations is a mystery set in 1835 in England. It's the second in a series. You don't need to read the first book to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the mystery from the first book. The author tried to stay true to what is known about Charles Dickens' career and lifestyle in his early twenties.

Vivid historical and setting details were woven into the story, making it feel like these events could really have happened. The main characters were interesting and acted realistically. I cared about what happened to them. Charles and his friends asked questions and looked into events in the past that seem linked to the present. His main goal was to prove that an innocent friend was wrongly arrested (which would also save that family from financial ruin). The only way to do this was to find an escaped convict and to prove whodunit. While you could increasingly guess who was involved from the gathering clues, the mystery was so complex that the exact details weren't guessable until the confession.

There were a couple uses of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd highly recommend this interesting mystery.

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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