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“Even more fun [than The Strangler Vine]. Delicious stuff”
“Terrific atmosphere accompanies an intriguing plot. Carter confirms the excellence of her move to historical crime fiction.”
The sequel to the acclaimed Blake and Avery mystery ‘The Strangler Vine’
Penguin · 368 pp · 2016
It wasn’t just blood, it was ink too. There was black ink on his face and more on his chest and fingertips. Not just the usual printer’s stain, but like his fingers had been pressed in it…
London, 1841. Returned from their adventures in India, Jeremiah Blake and William Avery have both had their difficulties adapting to life in Victorian England. Moreover, time and distance have weakened the close bond between them, forged in the jungles of India. Then a shocking series of murders in the world of London’s gutter press forces them back together.
The police seem mysteriously unwilling to investigate, then connections emerge between the murdered men and the growing and unpredictable movement demanding the right to vote for all. In the back streets of Drury Lane, among criminals, whores, pornographers and missionaries, Blake and Avery must race against time to find the culprit before he kills again.
But what if the murderer is being protected by some of the highest powers in the land?
Read an excerpt from The Printer’s Coffin.
Carter’s outstanding second whodunit reunites Jeremiah Blake and William Avery… Carter excels at incorporating the volatile politics of the time into her cleverly constructed plot, which repeatedly confounds readers’ expectations while presenting moving scenes of the plight of London’s poor reminiscent of Dickens.
Publishers Weekly ★ Starred Review
This is another tremendous performance by Carter: its hallmarks are deep but unobtrusive research, prose that channels Conan Doyle with nimble precision, and a sense that she is genuinely engaging with history rather than using it as set-dressing.
Carter brings 1840s London to life – from its pubs and shops to its workhouses and prisons – and captures the mood of the times perfectly.
Carter’s meticulous research is lightly worn in this action-packed rampage through the alleys and mansions of the teeming capital.
Delightful, historical fiction which works on multiple levels, illuminating while entertaining, pleasurable and impressive.
Independent on Sunday
Terrific atmosphere accompanies an intriguing plot. Carter confirms the excellence of her move to historical crime fiction.
Richly detailed and smartly plotted. Firmly establishes Carter as an authentic voice in the world of historical crime.
Witty and unfailingly readable… its contemporary resonance all the more effective for being barely stressed.
A great pairing of sleuths, heaps of wonderful period detail and a rip-roaring plot that enthralled me.
Woman and Home
Plenty of action, rich in historical detail… twists and turns like the streets of the St Giles rookery.
Carter is a slick storyteller who combines respect for a good murder with cool historical analysis.
Times Literary Supplement
The prose is witty and nimble..but her great achievement is her evocation of Victorian London.
Economist, Intelligent Life
Triumphs…an entertaining stew of blackmail, murder [and] cross-dressing…
Even more fun [than The Strangler Vine]. Delicious stuff.
Dazzling… glorious… smashing… remarkable
Complex, clever… vibrant.
London Evening Standard
Vivid. Done with brio.
Mail on Sunday
Publishers Weekly ★ Starred Review