cover image The Molten City

The Molten City

Chris Nickson. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8976-8

Set in 1908, Nickson’s superior eighth mystery featuring Supt. Tom Harper (after 2019’s The Leaden Heart) finds Harper preparing to provide protection for Prime Minister Herbert Asquith on his forthcoming visit to Leeds—and dealing with a cold case. Harper receives an anonymous letter from a dying woman who states that an affluent family paid a man, now dead, to steal a two-year-old boy in 1893. Though Harper, then a detective inspector, was in charge of the area where the boy vanished, shockingly, he’d never heard of the matter before. Harper gets a possible explanation for the case’s mishandling when he learns that the police constable who took the initial report was Adam Taylor. He himself had sacked Taylor for corruption in 1898. The discovery of Taylor’s stabbed body raises the stakes, as does the threat of protests by working-class men and suffragists during Asquith’s visit. Even minor characters are fully fleshed out in this trip down the mean streets of early 20th-century Leeds. Nickson’s consistent high quality across multiple series continues to impress. Agent: Tina Betts, Andrew Mann (U.K.). (July)