The Darwin Affair

Tim Mason. Algonquin, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-61620-634-5
Mason, author of the YA novel The Last Synapsid, makes his adult debut with an audacious historical thriller. In 1860, Chief Det. Insp. Charles Field, the inspiration for Inspector Bucket in Dickens’s Bleak House, is part of the added security force for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert after several assassination attempts. One day, Field is guarding the route the royal couple’s carriage is taking through London when he spots 18-year-old pickpocket Stevie Patchen, who appears to be holding a weapon. Field tackles Patchen, only to realize that the youth was a decoy. The actual gunman, Philip Rendell, a former bookkeeper, is able to fire only a few stray shots at the carriage before he’s apprehended. In the ensuing confusion, someone cuts Patchen’s throat and removes one ear, leading Field to suspect a conspiracy. The intelligent plot features prominent figures of the time, including Karl Marx, who may have a link to Rendell, and Charles Darwin, whose heretical theory of evolution has unsettled some very powerful men. Wry prose and vivid period detail help make Mason’s speculations feel plausible. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/02/2019
Release date: 06/11/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-64375-046-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-68457-172-7
Library Binding - 689 pages - 978-1-4328-7018-8
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