cover image The Sixth Victim

The Sixth Victim

Tessa Harris. Kensington, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0654-6

Harris’s late-Victorian historical, a series launch, is less successful than her Dr. Thomas Silkstone mysteries (The Anatomist’s Apprentice, etc.). Although flower girl Constance Piper must struggle to make a living, she recognizes that she’s better off than the desperate women working the London streets, and she is deeply disturbed when they begin falling prey to the serial killer who will become known as Jack the Ripper. Meanwhile, Constance is preoccupied with another puzzle—the whereabouts of Emily Tindall, a teacher who taught her how to speak and act properly. Part of the problem is the familiar plot. The Ripper murders have been the basis for countless whodunits, and Harris’s depiction of London’s impoverished East End, while solid, is just not at the level of authors such as Paul West and John Brooks Barry. Even focusing on the woman whose torso was found in the building site of what was to become New Scotland Yard—the sixth victim of the title—has been done better by Sarah Pinborough in 2014’s Mayhem. [em]Agent: Melissa Jeglinski, Knight Agency. (June) [/em]