cover image Mind of a Killer: An Alec Lonsdale Mystery

Mind of a Killer: An Alec Lonsdale Mystery

Simon Beaufort. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8762-7

In the tantalizing prologue of this so-so Victorian series launch from Beaufort (the pseudonym of Susanna Gregory and Beau Riffenburgh), an unnamed narrator recalls stealing a letter in 1869 from a scientist “who had proven to be a colossus greater than Newton”; the letter’s contents show the narrator that he “would be a leader of men... a saviour to future generations.” What all this means is left unclear as the action shifts to 1882. Dogged journalist Alec Lonsdale intends to break a major story in The Pall Mall Gazette after witnessing a fire in London that claims the life of haberdasher Patrick Donovan. Cath Walker, a prostitute present at the scene, has suggested to Lonsdale that Donovan was the victim of a killer who has done in at least six other people. Cath promises to tell more later, but she’s murdered before she can do so. The autopsy on Donovan shows that his cerebrum was removed. The eventual reveal and the overly busy climax disappoint, but fans of Gregory’s other, superior historical series, such as her Thomas Chaloner mysteries set in the 1660s, can hope for better next time. (Apr.)