cover image Bucket’s List: A Charley Field Victorian Mystery

Bucket’s List: A Charley Field Victorian Mystery

Gary Blackwood. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8738-2

Set in London in 1853, this imaginative series launch from children’s author Blackwood (the Shakespeare Stealer series) stars the real-life inspiration for Charles Dickens’s Inspector Bucket of Bleak House: Charley Field, who now runs his own private inquiry agency. Charley is sad to learn that the body of Rosa MacKinnon, a woman he knew who became a prostitute to support her child, has been retrieved from the Serpentine in Hyde Park; it appears that she committed suicide. When he later hears that Rosa may in fact have been murdered, Charley investigates, aided by Constable Lochinvar Mull (whose mother was a great admirer of Sir Walter Scott). From an unusual source, Charley discovers that another person Dickens appropriated for a novel, the original of Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist, might be implicated in Rosa’s murder. Meanwhile, Dickens himself asks for Charley’s help foiling actress Julia Fairweather, whom he believes has been sabotaging a stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Blackwood employs an omniscient narrative voice that Dickens fans will appreciate. (Dec.)