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Moonlight Reader

Welcome to 2019! 

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Penny Dreadful + Golden Age Mystery

Gallows Court - Martin Edwards

I don't think I can rate this book.


Many of you here are familiar with Martin Edwards from his Detection Club/The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books fame, given that his work inspired our Detection Club bingo game. In addition to his depth and breadth of knowledge regarding golden age mystery fiction, he is a crime writer himself. I've not read any of his other books, although several of them, particularly his series set in the Lake District, appeal to me.


This is his most recent work, though, released back in late September. I also have a Kindle Unlimited membership, paid for by my mother, so when I noticed that Gallows Court was available through that program, I thought "why not."


And why not, indeed? 


Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this review, I don't know what to make of this book. It is set in 1940's London, but in many ways it reads like a Victorian penny-dreadful. There are strong horror overtones, here, and lots of melodrama. The main character, Jacob Flint, is a likeable young reporter for The Clarion. The primary crime reporter for the newspaper has been hospitalized after a suspicious accident, and Jacob sees this an opportunity for advancement and a chance to figure out what is up with Rachel Savernake, the daughter of a famous "hanging judge" who left her an heiress and who seems to have an inexplicable aptitude for crime solving.


This isn't a standard mystery, although I figured out the twist pretty early in the book. There was a secondary twist that did give me a pretty good shock. There are several extremely gruesome murders, and very dark themes. It's not really my sort of mystery, although it is gripping and I devoured it in a matter of hours.


I hope that someone else reads this - I want to know what everyone else thinks!