With a myriad of motives, the question is who?
Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan of the Wigan Borough Police has no time for tales of ghosts and the afterlife, or of the dead contacting the living.
So, when he finds himself investigating the case of a recently widowed young woman, Alice Goodway, who has suddenly developed ‘the Gift’ of mediumship and has received a threatening letter, he embarks on the inquiry with no small degree of scepticism.
But just as Brennan and his burly colleague, Constable Jaggery, consider how to proceed with the case, something much more sinister takes place… a murder, in Alice’s own home.
Who would commit such a crime?
Could it be one of the seven ‘visitors’ who had been to sittings with Alice and not liked what they had heard?
Or the interfering and sanctimonious Inspector of Nuisances who strongly disapproved of the séances?
There are a lot of old wounds opened and painful memories shared with Brennan and Jaggery as they meticulously gather the information they need to solve the case. The challenge will be narrowing down the suspects, using clues from both the living and the dead…
This devilishly plotted Victorian whodunnit keeps the reader guessing right to the end, with red herrings aplenty scattered along the way.
There were three people sitting around the small table, their eyes fixed on the bare candle flames that swayed gently to and fro. There was no other light in the room, for the curtains had been drawn and their thickness kept out the dim glare of the gaslight across the street. No fire was lit, Thus avoiding the accidental flicker of shadows that might take the groups’s attention away from the flare of the flame. Thin wisps of smoke drifted upwards, but once they left the wick of the candle, they quickly vanished into the darkness that pressed on them, leaving only the acrid smell and the occasional sizzle from the molten wax.
‘I’m bloody freezing’!’ said one of them, an old woman whose face, weathered and creased, looked even paler than normal in the feeble glow from the candle’s flame. ‘Tha’d best be doin’ or I’m off.’
The one she addressed her comments to sat as she had done for the last ten minutes, with her head bowed low, her hands clapsped together on the table as if in prayer. She said nothing, but the woman seated to her right sharp-eyed and with a firm set to her jaw, leaned towards the old woman and hissed, ‘She’s not a bloody dog in a side show, Peggy. Sometimes nothin’ happens. Sometimes our Jack comes. It’s not our Alice’s fault. Spirits are a law unto themselves.’
Aka Alan Wright
In 2009 A. J. Wright won the 2010 Dundee International Fiction Prize for his Victorian murder mystery Act of Murder. His writing is inspired by his two major interests: all things Victorian and classic works from the Golden Age of crime fiction. He lives near Wigan.
Sitting Murder by A.J. Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Firstly a special thank you to A.J. Wright, Netgalley and Endeavour Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
An enjoyable who-dun-it murder mystery set in Victorian England with a plot that was quite simple. I have not read any of the other books in the series, I did not have to worry as it worked as a standalone.
A young bereaved widow, Alice Goodway claims she can contact the spirits since her husband was killed in a pit explosion, several people have seen her to talk to there dear departed but when threatening letters start arriving and then her Aunt is found murdered in Alice’s bed, but was she the intended victim or Alice, Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan has to work out who is the murderer before more people die.Although this is the forth book in a series and I haven’t read any off the others but I thought it worked fine as a standalone novel.
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