Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson

This novel marks the debut of an incredibly talented new novelist. The Devil in the Marshalsea is both an excellent whodunnit and an incredible work of historical fiction. It's no surprise then that Antonia won the CWA Historical Dagger. Tom Hawkins is a wonderful creation, young, handsome, arrogant an inveterate gambler and drinker. After he is robbed and beaten he is unable to pay his debts and ends up in the Marshalsea debtors prison. He has asked his friend upright citizen Rev Charles Buckley to help him and Charles has returned with a deal from his patron Sir Philip Meadows who is the Knight Marshal and runs the gaol, an inmate has been murdered and Sir Philip wants Tom to discover the killer. However Tom must be careful because his new cellmate is everybody's prime suspect. As further deaths occur and Tom discovers at first hand the depredation and cruelty in the Marshalsea he must uncover the killer before he becomes the next victim.Tom will learn a great deal about the dark underbelly of Eighteenth Century London. This is outstanding page turning writing. I loved it.

Out now in paperback from Hodder (Thanks to Kerry Hood for a review copy)

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