London, 1864: Elizabeth Martin, the daughter of a charitable thus penurious country doctor, takes a post as paid companion to a wealthy aunt due to the sudden disappearance of the previous companion. When a woman’s body is found among slums being demolished for a railway depot, Lizzie learns from Inspector Ross that the deceased is the missing companion, cruelly murdered. Arriving to interrogate Aunt Parry about the murdered companion, Ross realizes he recognizes Lizzie from childhood. Her father had rescued the under-aged lad from the dangerous mines and sent him to school, giving him a start in life which Ben never forgot. Lizzie and Ben engage in serious sleuthing: his officially, and hers from a sense of justice for the murdered girl and fear that she might be next!
This novel is written in Victorian style, with informative flashbacks and a clever heroine. Lizzie serves her aunt well while using her curiosity and spare time developing good detecting skills. Although a departure from Ann Granger’s wonderful Mitchell and Markby series, it’s a welcome one for the evocation of time and place.