Come the Fear

Written by Chris Nickson
Review by Jeanne Greene

In 1733, Leeds is home to pimps, kidnappers, and thieves, apparently beneath the notice of increasingly wealthy wool merchants—but not of the Constable of Leeds. In a job that makes him part of a very small middle class, Constable Richard Nottingham works with all elements of society, but never forgets his humble roots.

When a young woman and baby are found dead in a burned house, Nottingham suspects the fire was deliberate. With the aid of his deputy and his daughter’s would-be suitor, Richard traces the victim’s movements through the slums of Leeds. Criminals large and small cross his path; but whether dealing with lost children, stolen objects, or family squabbles, Nottingham doesn’t forget the young woman until he brings her murderer to justice.

Nickson creates recognizable characters with families, worries, and fears like ours, while reminding us that their life expectancy was about 40. Even love was tempered by the realization that two people had less time together. This is what most readers want from a historical novel—a feeling that we understand the times a little better. Come the Fear is highly recommended.