A thrilling ‘Dickensian Whodunit’
Oliver Twist, now a young man and a lawyer, assisted by his clerk Jack Dawkins (the Artful Dodger) tries to solve a series of brutal murders.
Oliver Twist is a young man in his late twenties and employed as a solicitor. He has taken his old associate Jack Dawkins, aka the Artful Dodger, on as his clerk in attempt to civilise him and keep him out of trouble. Together they become embroiled in a dark and dangerous murder mystery.
Throate Manor is the ancestral home of the Throate Family in Surrey. The latest incumbent of the line, the aged Sir Ebenezer, trapped in a loveless marriage to Lady Amelia, is being terrified by a night visitor, a sheeted apparition who appears in his bedroom, and warns him to remember his son. This does not refer to his legitimate offspring Jeremiah Throate, a reckless gambler and libertine, who is deeply in debt to Eugene Trench, a sinister figure in the Victorian underworld. The son to whom the apparition refers is an illegitimate child Sir Ebenezer fathered with a maidservant some twenty five years previously.
Fear mixed with guilt prompts Sir Ebenezer to try and locate the son he has never known. He plans to alter his will to favour him. He contacts his solicitors, the firm of Gripewind and Biddle, for this purpose and they despatch Oliver Twist and Jack Dawkins to Throate Manor to attend to this business. Sir Ebenezer charges Oliver with the task of finding his lost son.
The task is a perilous one leading to violence and murder before shocking revelations threaten to destroy them all.
Bestselling crime author David Stuart Davies delivers a unique Victorian set mystery, reimagining some of Charles Dickens best loved characters in new and thrilling roles.
I am delighted to be a part of the Oliver Twist and the Mystery of Throate Manor Blog Tour with thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroup and Urbane Books for having me aboard.
We encounter Oliver Twist, now in his late twenties, as a rising young lawyer in the firm of Gripwind and Biddle. He has a comfortable home and an inheritance left to him by his beloved benefactor, Mr Brownlow.
We are introduced to several characters Sir Ebenezer, his wife Lady Amelia and son Jeremiah; Mr Faddle and Mr Trench; Roger Lightwood, Felicity Waring and Lady Wilhelmina Whitestone; along, of course, with Oliver Twist and his assistant Jack Dawkins – The Artful Dodger.
Oliver is called on by Mr Gripwind to undertake a journey to Throate Manor as Sir Ebanezer wishes to make an alteration to his will. Following his meeting at Throate Manor Oliver, along with Jack, goes off in search of Sir Ebenezers younger son but not before some strange happenings take place.
We are taken on a multi-layered journey which includes attempted murder, murder, mystery, assault, intrigue and even a little romance. It is fascinating how various criminal acts are dealt with in the Victorian England setting, the police are in little evidence whilst mayhem abounds. There are some quite dark moments in the book, there is some violence but it’s not gratuitous; it is atmospheric, descriptive and observant. The various threads are unravelled as we read about each of the characters, what happens to them and the final mystery is revealed in a dramatic conclusion.
It is delightful to read about Oliver and Jack. To see what has become of them, in the imagination of David Stuart Davies’s rather splendid story, and find them now on the ‘right side’ of the law. Not only that but sleuthing albeit in a rather Victorian England lawyerly way.
This is a well written book from a writer who puts his knowledge and obvious love of the era to great use in this engaging and rather loveable story.
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Publication Day: 14th June 2018
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Category: Fiction, Genre: Crime / Historical Thriller
David Stuart Davies is an author, playwright and editor. His fiction includes six novels featuring his wartime detective Johnny Hawke, Victorian puzzle solver artist Luther Darke, and seven Sherlock Holmes novels the latest being Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper Legacy (2016). His non-fiction work includes Starring Sherlock Holmes, detailing the film career of the Baker Street sleuth. David is regarded as an authority on Sherlock Holmes and is the author of two Holmes plays, Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act and Sherlock Holmes: The Death and Life, which are available on audio CD. He has written the Afterwords for all the Collector’s Library Holmes volumes, as well as those for many of their other titles.
David has also penned three dark, gritty crime novels set in Yorkshire in the 1980s: Brothers in Blood, Innocent Blood and Blood Rites. He is a committee member of the Crime Writers Association and edits their monthly publication Red Herrings. His collection of ghost and horror stories appeared in 2015, championed by Mark Gatiss who said they were pleasingly nasty. David is General Editor of Wordsworth’s Mystery & Supernatural series and a past Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. He has appeared at many literary festivals and the Edinburgh Fringe performing his one man presentation The Game’s Afoot an evening with Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle. He was recently made a member of The Detection Club.