Date with the Executioner

Written by Edward Marston
Review by Mike Ashworth

1816. The book opens with a duel at dawn at Chalk Farm in London. At the last moment, the duel is broken up by the Bow Street Runners, and the protagonists are taken into custody. However, later, when the body of one of the potential duellists is found stabbed to death in a stranger’s garden, it plunges thief taker Paul Skillen and his identical twin brother, Peter, into a race against the Runners to see the murderer brought to justice.

This is the third in the Bow Street Rivals series, which pits the two brothers in an acrimonious rivalry with the Runners in solving crime. With a taut plot, strong characters, and scheming villains with an ingenious, if deadly, plan to gain a fortune, the story gallops at a furious pace through the streets of Victorian London. There is an interesting sub-plot which provides a strong counterpoint to the main story, while the book comes to a very satisfying conclusion. Although the latest in the series, this can be read as a standalone book. Fans of the genre, will find this an enjoyable romp through Victorian crime. Recommended.