Plague

Plague

Murder Has A New Friend

Paperback - 2014
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An actress and a thief-taker in 17th century London join forces to try to foil a plan to assassinate the king.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2014.
ISBN: 9780385679923
0385679920
Branch Call Number: FIC Humph
Characteristics: xi, 362 p. : ill., map.

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w
wyenotgo
Dec 05, 2016

As a depiction of the squalor of 17th century London, this one probably has few equals. It was a time of urbanization in the absence of infrastructure; medical practice in the absence of even rudimentary knowledge; and law enforcement in the absence of a trained, dedicated police force or judicial system. Restoration England is still trying to recover from its civil war; much of the populace lives on the brink of starvation while the King and his court stagger from one hedonistic brawl to another. In this setting, during an outbreak of the plague we have a story of murder, religious fanaticism and a constabulary that depends on bounty hunting for its livelihood.
A colorful, exciting, fast read but: Not for the squeamish.

a
alps_xing
Apr 24, 2016

Fascinating and interesting book. The con is that the ending is a little bit cliche.

f
finn75
Apr 10, 2016

A great exploration of gritty London. Likable characters and a twisty plot.

l
ll58057
Mar 23, 2015

A great read. Never disappointed in whatever this author has written

d
doxland
Mar 15, 2015

A excellent read.
No regrets here

DanniOcean Aug 12, 2014

reviewed in the Stratford Gzette, Aug 2014

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DanniOcean Aug 12, 2014

It is Restoration England, with a hedonistic King Charles II on the throne. The playhouses have re-opened and for the first time women are allowed to grace the stages. Highwaymen are popularized in romantic ballads, and men are employed as thief-takers to hunt them down. Religious fanatics meet in secret to hatch anti-monarchist plots, and a pestilence strikes fear into the heart of London’s meaner neighbourhoods, as houses are shut up with their occupants still inside to prevent its spread. However, there is a more menacing plague that stalks the streets –a murderer is on the loose, and the manner in which he leaves his victims is nothing short of barbaric.

It is the luck of the highwayman Captain Coke that he happens upon three such victims shortly after their demise, and in his haste to leave the scene he leaves one of his pistols behind. It is found by one Mr. Pitman, a thief-taker who has been on the Captain’s trail for some time, and as he closes in on his quarry, the Captain decides to leave London at once – but not before paying a visit to the actress Lucy Absolute, whose brother was the Captain’s comrade in arms during the English Civil War. Lucy has an errand for him, one that puts him in the path of Sarah Chalker, another actress whose husband is missing. Captain Coke undertakes to help her find him, and find him he does – unfortunately. But before he can give Sarah the bad news he is caught by Pitman – who believes the Captain is also the murderer. Coke manages to make him doubt this, and they begin a tenuous partnership to find the real killer before he strikes again.

Rife with the fast-paced action and the little historic details that really transport a reader, C.C. Humphrey’s latest novel is a thrilling swashbuckling adventure – like Raphael Sabatini’s novels, but with a little more swagger.

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