Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Birth of a Female Detective

Death of a Dancer
by Caro Peacock

Genre; Historial/Mystery
Publisher; HarperCollins/Great Britain/2008
Pages; 380
ISBN; 9780007244218

Plot; Death of a Dancer, the second of the Liberty Lane Victorian Mystery series, tells the story of Miss Lane's first months in London and her first glimpses of London's darker side.

Daniel, Liberty's oldest and closest friend, has fallen in love with a most innocent and fragile young dancer, Jenny. However, their young love affair is cut short when Jenny is arrested for the murder of London's most infamous and capricious ballet dancer, Columbine.

It all begins with an onstage fight, with arms flung at chests and heels stomped on toes, but is Jenny the one who slipped Columbine the poison between acts?

Set against the backdrop of Victorian London, with its dirty backstreets and darkly cloaked criminals, Liberty must find the culprit before Jenny faces the gallows.

My Thoughts; This story is highly addictive and totally absorbing. I was saddened at closing this book each evening, leaving it to sit on the nightstand, like a siren calling me in further and deeper.

I was engrossed from the first chapter. Peacock is a skilled writer who had me bamboozled as to "who dun nit", and I can safely say, you will never see the end coming.

All of the characters are really enjoyable. Liberty is such an intelligent and passionate person that taking this romp through Victorian England, through her eyes, is just a wonderful journey.

The depiction of London is also wonderful. You can almost smell the grime and feel the grit as you wonder through its backstreets.

I also like that Peacock hasn't muddied the storyline with unnecessary back plot. Peacock gives little insights into the characters histories, which are enough to shape the characters, but not so much you feel overwhelmed by useless information. This is a good technique because it allows the reader's imagination to fill the blanks, meaning the reader can take a more active role in the storytelling, which can be very enticing.

There are several groups of readers who would enjoy this title. Firstly, I would recommend this book to those who love a good mystery. As I have said, I couldn't figure this one out and I usually have a good idea by halfway through a book who the culprit is. The end really is brilliant, and totally unforeseeable.

Secondly, I would recommend this book to historical fans. The depiction of Victorian England is beautiful, or should I say, not so beautiful. It was also interesting to read about the contemporary views of the new, young Queen Victoria.

Lastly, I would recommend this book to those who like feminist literature. Liberty Lane is strong, intelligent, independent and happily throws aside the sexual segregation of Victorian society.

Happy Reading!

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