Daughters of Night
Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s first novel Blood and Sugar won the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award and the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown, and was nominated for a range of other awards. The follow-up revisits Georgian London with some of the same characters. Caroline Corsham discovers a mortally wounded young woman in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, and the Bow Street Constables do not seem inclined to seek her killer when they discover that she is a prostitute. Caroline seeks out her husband Harry’s old friend, Peregrine Child, to try and find justice for the murdered woman.
As they begin to investigate the young woman’s life, they are drawn into the dark underbelly of Georgian society, the world of the daughters of night. For a high society woman with a reputation to maintain, Caro must tread very carefully, as she discovers the reality of life for the women who trade sex for money and the duplicity of the men who visit them.
The author has already proven herself adept at creating great characters and intriguing mysteries, and she does so once again in this book. Shepherd-Robinson also holds up a microscope to the setting of her fiction, having examined the men who profited from the horrors of the slave trade in her first book, and the often-horrific realities of 18th-century sex work in Daughters of Night. This is an impeccably well researched and page-turning novel of the nameless, faceless women from history and a stonkingly good mystery novel to boot. I will be snapping up the next instalment as soon as I can. Perfect for fans of Andrew Taylor, Antonia Hodgson and Robin Blake.