An Improper Death

Written by Paula Paul
Review by Steve Lewis

The second mystery adventure of Dr. Alexandra Gladstone has much the same virtues and flaws as the first (Symptoms of Death). The problems of being a female doctor in Victorian England are abundantly illustrated. Trying to do surgery on a male patient’s privates, for example, takes a good amount of strategic planning. And in general Ms. Paul does a more than credible job in re-creating the life and times of the lower classes; it was a hard life. Where she falters is in the mystery itself, that of the death of a former British admiral, found drowned on the beach near his home, clad only in women’s undergarments (hence the title).

Constable Snow’s mysterious behavior that follows seems strained and forced, and so do several other incidents. Worse, though, is the killer’s behavior, totally unexplainable, making any attempt to follow the clues all but hopeless.

So, definitely a mixed bag. Read this for the characters, not for the detective work.