Dead Letters

Written by Joan Lock
Review by Tess Heckel

In the summer of 1880s London, DI Ernest Best is assigned duty with fellow officers for the Police’s Annual Fête at the Alexandra Palace due to a bomb threat sent by a poetical villain signed “Quicksilver.” Having cleared the site when a villain is suspected, Best suddenly learns of a young woman’s death on a carousel (possibly murder). Was Quicksilver lying about the threat? The answer comes when the Palace suddenly explodes and Best’s original hunch had been right. The murder investigation continues, pulling Best and his “bodyguard” John George Smith in various directions trying to interpret future threats by this invisible villain while solving a woman’s murder and searching Quicksilver’s identity. As time runs out, Best is finally faced with a frightening truth that could cost his life. Although the story is uneven in parts, and at times refers to previous cases only by name, Best and Smith are a worthy duo to keep the reader interested in this lively time of Victorian crime-solving.