In 1880’s London the famous detective Sidney Grace has taken on a new ward. March Middleton is a young, plain woman and while her new guardian thinks women are too weak for detective work March sets out to prove him wrong.
I was excited to read The Mangle Street Murder’s because it was originally recommended to me by a patron who, like me, loves mysteries. She told me, “It’s good, it’s frustrating. You’ll see.” After finishing this book all I can say is, boy was she right!
The book opens with our heroine March arriving in London at the home of her new guardian the famous detective Sidney Grace. From the beginning Grace thinks very little of March, in fact he thinks very little of all woman. Through out the book I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with our famous detective as he ignored March and her findings. I had to remind myself a couple of times that a woman in March’s shoes would most likely have faced this exact kind of attitude. Some times I forget that my favorite modern works of historical fiction that have loads of characters with progressive ideas are somewhat of a anachronism. A woman trying to become a detective in 1882 in London would have certainly faced loads of skepticism and most likely outright hostility too.
As the mystery unfolds March and Sidney have a hard communicating with each other. They don’t share their findings because they don’t trust each other. Near the end of the Mangle Street Murders I thought the plot got a little cheesy but then the author turned everything around and ended the book with a bit of a shock. I can’t really call it a plot twist because honestly I should have seen it coming! It was enough to make me frustrated with the characters but also enticing enough to make want to see if the characters are going to grow as the series continues.