Edinburgh Dusk – Review

Edinburgh DuskTitle:   Edinburgh Dusk  |  Author:   Carole Lawrence  |  Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer  |  Publication:  2018 |  Genre:   Mystery

Edinburgh Dusk is the second installment in a mystery series by Carole Lawrence. Set in 1880, Ian Hamilton, a Shakespeare-quoting Detective Inspector, and his associate, Sergeant Dickerson, are drawn into a poisoning case when Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake reports the death of the first victim, the husband of a client who gets help at her clinic for poor women. More victims follow, including a banker visiting Margaret, a prostitute at Fair Kate’s.  The investigation leads Hamilton and Dickerson through brothels, pawn shops and back alleys in the Old Town section of Edinburgh.

Character development is good, even for most secondary characters. Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is a good-looking loner who buries himself in his work. He carries some emotional baggage that stems from a mysterious fire that killed his parents. At the beginning of Edinburgh Dusk his only friendships are with Aunt Lillian, his mother’s sister, and his associate, Sergeant William Dickerson. Even these innocuous attachments are stretched when Hamilton discovers a letter that indicates his aunt has been keeping secrets from him about his parents.

There are a few stock secondary characters, such as Fair Kate, a madame who runs a brothel where one of the victims meets his death. Fair Kate is a bit formulaic in her kind-hearted mothering of the women in her brothel. Fiona Stuart, a nurse at the local hospital, is pretty and prickly. She is so insistent that she can take care of herself that she often comes off as a stereotypical harridan. However, these characters still come across as likeable during the story’s course.

Hamilton and Dickerson meet Arthur Conan Doyle, a medical student, and his real-life mentor, Dr. Bell; both work at the hospital where Hamilton and others are taken due to beatings and attempted poisonings. Doyle, in this novel and in real life, enjoys crime solving. Doyle befriends Hamilton and helps him out with scientific and medical insights. An implication here is that the fictional Hamilton and Dickerson are precursors for Doyle’s own Holmes and Watson characters.

Overall, this addition to the Ian Hamilton series is an interesting read that moves along relatively smartly.  The reader is kept guessing until the dénouement at the end.

I look forward to going back to read the first installment of the series, Edinburgh Twilight. One can only hope that future installments will have more inventive titles. Dusk and twilight are synonymous and might imply that the stories are equally interchangeable.

Thanks to www.netgalley.com and Thomas & Mercer for providing me an eBook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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