Murder, potions, curses, an asylum, a devastating snowstorm, and late-Victorian manners and morals—all figure in de Muriel’s delicious witches’ brew of a mystery, the worthy sequel to 2016’s well-received The Strings of Murder. In this outing, the mismatched detectives Insp. Ian Frey and Adolphus “Nine Nails” McCray—“a lanky Londoner who fancies himself a duke, travelling with a scruffy Scotsman who wears ridiculous clothes,” as one character puts it—chase an escapee from an asylum who has poisoned his nurse with strychnine. The duo start in Edinburgh and end on the desolate moor of Pendle Hill, infamous home of the real-life Lancashire witches, who were executed in the 17th century. The well-paced and suspenseful plot hurtles readers through a centuries-old conspiracy coming to a head in 1883, marked by eerie questions of occult powers. But the most impressive aspect of the novel is its detailed, vivid characters, driven by powerful emotions and full of surprises. Agent: Maggie Hanbury, Hanbury Agency (U.K.). (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2017 Release date: 04/04/2017 Genre: Fiction
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