cover image The Path of the Wicked: A Liberty Lane Mystery

The Path of the Wicked: A Liberty Lane Mystery

Gillian Linscott writing as Caro Peacock. Severn/Creme de la Crime, $28.95 (224

In the first chapter of Peacock’s fine sixth early Victorian historical (after 2012’s Keeping Bad Company), Benjamin Disraeli, the future British prime minister, asks Liberty Lane, a female private investigator who has served him in the past, to spy on the Chartists—working-class political reformers whom the government views as a threat. The indignant Lane refuses Disraeli’s offer, freeing her to help Gloucestershire magistrate Stephen Godwit, who’s concerned that a man imprisoned for murder may be innocent. The authorities have charged Jack Picton, reputed to be a revolutionary, with the bludgeoning death of governess Mary Marsh. Picton had been feuding with the victim’s employers and was possibly her lover. Lane soon learns of a bizarre disappearance that may have a connection with the crime. The author has put a lot of work into laying the groundwork for the denouement, which will satisfy classic whodunit fans. (June)