cover image Grave Expectations

Grave Expectations

Heather Redmond. Kensington, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1716-0

Set in London in the summer of 1835, Redmond’s appealing sequel to 2018’s A Tale of Two Murders finds journalist Charles Dickens looking forward to his wedding to Kate Hogarth. Realizing that he has not seen his upstairs neighbor, Miss Haverstock, in several days, Charles takes Kate for a visit. In her rooms, the couple discover the elderly spinster murdered. Two convicts have recently escaped from a nearby prison, and the neighborhood has suffered a rash of burglaries, leading Charles to suspect a fairly routine crime. Kate insists that the staging of the body—Miss Haverstock is wearing a yellowed wedding gown and a corkscrew is buried in her neck—indicates a complex personal motive instead. The investigation the pair pursue is slow to gather momentum, and the author’s efforts to integrate elements of Great Expectations into the story can feel forced. Yet Redmond effectively captures the young Charles’s ebullient energy, the warmth of his circle, and the color of a fast-changing era. Readers will look forward to Charles’s further adventures. [em]Agent: Laurie McLean, Foreword Literary. (Aug.) [/em]