cover image The Tumbling Girl

The Tumbling Girl

Bridget Walsh. Gallic, $17.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-913547-51-6

Walsh (Domestic Murder in Nineteenth-Century England) impresses in this series launch featuring an unlikely pair of investigators in 1876 London. Minnie Ward writes sketches and songs for a music hall. She becomes a sleuth after her closest friend, actor Rose Watkins, is found murdered. Lacking confidence that Rose’s killing will get the official attention it merits, Minnie and Watkins’s grieving mother, Ida, seek out Albert Easterbrook, a private investigator and retired prizefighter. His inquiry, which Watkins takes an active role in, coincides with the police’s search for the so-called Hairpin Killer (named for his choice of murder weapon), who has been claiming victims on and off for a decade. Another murder, that of an aspiring politician, thickens the plot. Walsh’s diligent research pays off in spades here, and her rich and nuanced portrayal of the period will leave readers feeling like they’re on the soggy streets of London. Imogen Robertson readers will be eager for a sequel to this un-put-downable mystery. (May)