London, 1871. Adam Carver, traveller, photographer and sometime intelligencer, is asked by a friend from the Foreign Office to find Dolly Delaney, a West End dancer who has been involved with a diplomat but has now disappeared. The trail takes Carver and his lugubrious manservant, Quint, to York and the world of second-rate theatre in the city and then on to the dangerous world of Bismarckian Berlin. Politics, spying and murder make a lethal combination, and the intrepid pair find that what had seemed at first sight to be a relatively straightforward case has become much darker and dangerous as they encounter new treacheries.
This is the second outing for Carver and Quint; both characters are well drawn. The plot is fast-paced with unexpected twists and a variety of strong characters. The author’s use of Victorian dialogue helps to provide a realistic portrait of Victorian life and derring do. A compelling murder mystery. This is a welcome addition to the genre, and I look forward to many more outings with the intrepid duo.