cover image River’s Edge

River’s Edge

James P. Blaylock. Subterranean, $40 (216p) ISBN 978-1-59606-838-4

Victorian-era investigator Langdon St. Ives is caught up in skullduggery when he looks into the murder of a mill worker in his seventh full-length adventure (after Beneath London) from World Fantasy Award–winner Blaylock. Charles Townover, owner of the Majestic Paper Mill in scenic Snodland, England, is determined to save his business. Chemicals from the mill are poisoning local streams and workers, and union men have been urging the women working at the mill to strike. Mother Laswell, the leader of a neighborhood spiritualist colony and a determined environmentalist, is also calling on the mill to clean up its act. When former mill worker Daisy Dumpel is found murdered, a local union organizer is charged with the crime, but St. Ives has doubts. Then Laswell is accused of witchcraft and St. Ives’s own wife is arrested, and he has extra incentive to find the truth quickly. Blaylock’s industrial Victorian setting is home to a host of intriguing characters, and their tangled motivations, along with the suspicion of otherworldly involvement, keep the sometimes meandering story moving. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Literary. (Oct.)