The Devil’s Road

Jean-Pierre Ohl, trans. from the French by Mike Mitchell. Dedalus, $17.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-910213-93-3
Set in 1824 England, this ambitious mystery from Ohl (The Lairds of Cromarty) depicts a time of monumental social change. The first railroad tracks are being laid across County Durham, much to the suspicion and displeasure of both gentry and common folk, so when workers dredging a pond near the abandoned ancestral home of the Beresford family find a woman’s skeleton with a dagger through her chest, the entire project is endangered. Locals assume that the body is that of Mathilda Beresford, who mysteriously disappeared two decades earlier, shortly before her husband mounted a coach for parts unknown, never to be seen again. Investors in the railroad send dissipated, disillusioned Justice of the Peace Edward Bailey to look into the matter, with express instructions that the Beresfords be cleared of any involvement in the woman’s death. Ohl offers an enjoyable homage to the world that shaped Charles Dickens, full of Dickensian characters, including a 12-year-old Charley himself. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/26/2019
Release date: 02/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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