Arrowood and the Thames Corpses

Written by Finlay Mick
Review by Lisa Redmond

The third instalment of the Arrowood series from Mick Finlay will enthral fans and newcomers alike. It’s set in the sweltering summer heat of 1896 London amongst the pleasure steamers and barges making a living on the Thames. A pleasure boat captain asks for Arrowood’s help as he is being forced out of business by a newer boat crew. However, when the attacks escalate from broken windows and intimidation to murder, a deeper mystery pulls Barnett and his guvnor down into the murky depths once more. Added to this are the ever-growing complications of Arrowood’s personal life.

Mick Finlay’s depictions of Victorian life are glistening with glorious, gritty, filthy detail. The description of the ratting game and Arrowood’s encounter with the rats will horrify many readers, so intense is the storytelling. The plot rattles along filled with such incidents and such memorable characters that I felt utterly transported. Previous readers of this series will know that it takes place in the same time and place as the Sherlock Holmes stories. Arrowood faces comparison to Holmes at every turn, but Arrowood’s world is that of the poor, the ragged, and the disenfranchised, so he and Barnett are forever struggling to make ends meet.

While each book continues on from the last, each story could be read as a standalone. However, I would highly recommend reading the entire series to see how wonderfully the author has developed the characters and rounded out the world they inhabit. Perfect for fans of Victorian mystery especially fans of Conan Doyle.