It’s strange, the way fortune deals her hand.’
The year is 1759 and London is shrouded in a cloak of fear. With the constables at the mercy of highwaymen, it’s a perilous time to work the already dangerous streets of Soho. Lizzie Hardwicke makes her living as a prostitute, somewhat protected from the fray as one of Mrs Farley’s girls. But then one of her wealthy customers is found brutally murdered… and Lizzie was the last person to see him alive.
Constable William Davenport has no hard evidence against Lizzie but his presence and questions make life increasingly difficult. Desperate to be rid of him and prove her innocence Lizzie turns amateur detective, determined to find the true killer, whatever the cost.
Yet as the body count rises Lizzie realises that, just like her, everyone has a secret they will do almost anything to keep buried…
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Murder mystery in the eighteenth-century with a likeable female detective and a well-researched setting.
Atmospheric and authentic ‘Death and the Harlot’, features Lizzie Hardwicke, a harlot who becomes embroiled in a murder hunt, and turns detective. Despite her tragic family history, she remains humorous and kind, using her intelligence and knowledge of people, and the area, to help solve a complex crime.
The plot is full of suspects and twists, the tone is pitched correctly for the time period. William Davenport, a Bow Street Runner is determined to find the culprit and discover more about Lizzie’s past life. He has many secrets too, and the relationship between them is interesting and promises to be an integral part of future stories.
This is lighthearted despite the gravity of the crime, the characters are complex and fit with the time period, although the tale is written in a contemporary style. A clever, entertaining story, I look forward to the next book in the series.