cover image Inspector Abberline and the Just King

Inspector Abberline and the Just King

Simon Clark. Hale (IPG, dist.), $32.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7198-1656-7

Set in 1890, Clark’s intriguing second whodunit for his fictionalized version of real-life Scotland Yarder Frederick Abberline (after 2015’s Inspector Abberline and the Gods of Rome) finds the detective’s Watsonian sidekick, reporter Thomas Lloyd, deciding to give up chronicling his cases after narrowly escaping drowning while aiding Abberline. Lloyd reconsiders after he’s accosted by an unidentified elderly gentleman, who tells him that his coverage has been a valuable tool to rebut public perceptions that the police are corrupt; the stranger then presents him with a gold pin that he’s to keep secret and a letter from the prime minister himself. This is just the prologue to another odd murder case, which takes Abberline to the Kingdom of Faxfleet, an independent nation consisting of an island in the River Humber. One of the kingdom’s residents, Benedict Feasby, was shot to death with an arrow after encountering a bizarre stuffed creature, Sir Terror, in a tree. Unfortunately, neither lead has a memorable personality, despite Clark’s success elsewhere with Sherlockian pastiche. (July)