The Solitary House

Lynn Shepherd. Delacorte, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-53242-8
Shepherd follows her 2010 debut, Murder at Mansfield Park, which successfully channeled Jane Austen, with an equally satisfying reworking of Bleak House, which Dickens once considered titling The Solitary House. The Machiavellian lawyer from Bleak House, Edward Tulkinghorn, seeks out private operative Charles Maddox, who was discharged from the Metropolitan Police after butting heads with Inspector Bucket (another character from the Dickens novel), ostensibly to track down the poison pen writer targeting Sir Julius Cremorne, head of London’s oldest merchant bank. The omniscient narrative voice reveals that Maddox is being used as a stalking horse, and the reader is soon plunged into a complex but comprehensible labyrinth of deception and violence. Maddox makes some serious missteps, a refreshing change from the typical all-knowing detective. The sensitive portrayal of his relationship with his aging great-uncle and mentor lends depth. Maddox could well carry a series. Agent: Ben Mason, FoxMason. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 1373 pages - 978-0-345-53355-5
Paperback - 358 pages - 978-0-345-53243-5
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