Sunday, February 18, 2018

Review - She Be Damned by MJ Tjia

She Be Damned (The Heloise Chancey Mysteries)
London 1863 - prostitutes are being murdered and disemboweled.

From humble beginnings to the comfortable life of a courtesan, Heloise Chancy dabbles in the world of private investigation. And when she is called upon to step back into her old world to investigate a series of brutal murders and the disappearance of a missing girl, Heloise must use her charm and wit to solve the mystery.

The story rattles along briskly from its confronting opening scenes to its climatic conclusion as the reader is drawn into Heloise's world. No sooner is one part of the mystery is solved than yet one more remains unresolved.

The seething underbelly of Victorian London comes alive as Heloise walks the dimly lit streets and alleyways to seek answers, often putting herself in harms way, but managing to achieve more than past investigations, despite the obvious chauvinistic attitudes of those seeking her assistance - "What on earth do you think a little dollymop like her can achieve?"

The story is peppered with intriguing characters from the mysterious maidservant Amah Li Leen, brothel keeper Madame Silvestre, the mysterious Mr Priestly, and local street urchin.  The novel gives a strange foreboding of what was yet to come for the street-walkers of Victorian London.

It will be interesting to read the follow up to see how the characters are further developed and in what capacity Heloise will next be employed to investigate.

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