The Circle: A Grand & Batchelor Victorian Mystery

M.J. Trow. Severn/Crème de la Crime, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-78029-083-6
Set in 1868, Trow’s so-so sequel to 2015’s The Blue and the Grey pivots on the death of Lafayette Baker, the head of the U.S. National Detective Police. In a prologue set in a Philadelphia rooming house, Lafayette has a fatal encounter with a man identified only as Wally. Wally acts on behalf of a shadowy figure, who assures him that he has acted in the nation’s interest. Luther Baker, a cousin of Lafayette’s, recruits British private inquiry agents Matthew Grand and James Batchelor to investigate, giving them a literal blank check to do so. The pair quickly find evidence of arsenic poisoning to support Luther’s theory of foul play, and their client sets them on the track of Edwin Stanton, the former Secretary of War, whose removal from office leads to Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, and whose absence from Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was shot raised suspicions of involvement in Booth’s plot. Underdeveloped leads, a lack of genuine surprises, and a failure to evoke the tensions of postbellum America are all negatives. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-78010-755-4
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-7278-9500-4
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-78029-567-1
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