After thoroughly enjoying The Head in the Ice, I was looking forward to seeing where the adventure would take George Bowman next. Head back in time for a new mystery set in the Victorian era with my review of The Devil in the Dock.
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Publisher: Sharpe Books | Date: 2020 | Genre: Historical/Mystery
Plot: ‘Are there devils here?’
Considered a loose cannon, Detective Inspector George Bowman of Scotland Yard is despatched to London’s docks where he can do no harm.
When an explosion rips through the wharves, however, he’s soon pitched into a world of intrigue and extortion.
With the whole of Victorian London in the grip of the mysterious Kaiser, Bowman must find the strength to escape the ghosts that haunt him. Just who is the Kaiser, and what do they have to do with his wife’s death?
I received The Devil in the Dock from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The Devil in the Dock Review
After enjoying the charm of The Head in the Ice, I was delighted to continue the adventure with The Devil in the Dock.
The second book in the Bowman of the Yard series, this novel has as much mystery, intrigue and suspense as the first. The scene is set in the same compelling way, only this time, it’s our first victim fleeing for his life, hunted by a vicious dog.
But Bowman isn’t sent to investigate the murder. His friends and colleagues are worried about him – and his grip on sanity. It’s a concern he can’t shrug off as phantoms haunt him through London. He wants to move on; his past refuses to let him go. Desperate to show he is still the man for the job, Bowman tries to prove himself while working security at the docks where mysterious injuries and “accidents” are rife, and no one’s willing to talk.
As before, I really like George Bowman as a protagonist. He has a heart of gold and a mind that’s his own worst enemy. He knows his grip on sanity is a fragile thing, but he’s determined not to appear weak in front of either friends or foes. Bowman has charming sensibilities and a way of flustering himself when dealing with women. But when he’s got a case to solve, we see his iron and determination, and what makes him a good detective.
Graves remains my favourite out of the secondary characters. You see – more so this time– how much he cares for those he has sworn to protect, becoming emotionally involved in the case and determined to find answers. The focus remains on Bowman and Graves: others are present but you don’t connect to them.
“And what of you, Inspector Bowman?” She used his title for the first time, he noticed, as if she was singularly unimpressed. “Will you change the world?”The Devil in the Dock by Richard James
The case is just as compelling. Men disappearing: men being branded: men hunted through the streets of London. An explosion that is far too suspicious to be the accident it’s claimed as. And a mysterious Kaiser – someone running the London criminal world who has, so far, remained undetected by the police. But when Bowman starts to make connections, it becomes a much bigger case, even going back as far as the events that killed his wife.
The mystery is an engaging and enjoyable one. You see the different strands come together as the characters work things out, but the big picture is harder to suss out. There is an effective build of tension as our heroes realise they have been in the presence of their enemy – and still don’t know who it is.
The gentle pace of these books hints towards a satisfying ending, and it didn’t let me down. Justice is served and the criminal apprehended. But, more importantly, the strong character development also occurring.
I’m enjoying this series. It’s charming, it’s engaging and I’m loving that I’m not guessing it. You get swept up with these characters and their need to find justice even when it seems impossible. It’s an escape back to the past, and a delightful one at that.
Are you a historical mystery fan? Have you read these books?
Also in the series: