Death on Duchess Street
Ms Pattenden’s crime novel is an easy, light read: the plot takes you along at a good pace, and you are never left hanging.
Detective Hodgins is called to investigate the disturbing murder of a child in a quiet residential street in Victorian-era Toronto. The father strangely disappears and there are no suspects. Bertie Hodgins has to find out what happened in a crime that causes much unrest due to the young age of the victim. With help from his loving wife, he meets the task head on and still has time to plant a vegetable garden in his new house.
Despite this being a murder mystery, the novel is a gentle, almost serene read, created with sympathetic characters and violence discussed but never portrayed. There could have been more characterization, and maybe more interaction between husband and wife to bring a further sense of reality to the fore. The story will not give you nightmares but it is an ideal bedtime read and you will want to keep reading it.
Unfortunately, there is very little description of Victorian Toronto, or other locations in Canada that are visited, and that is a pity. I would have liked to really feel what it was like to be in a bustling town in Canada: the smell of steam from trains and the lack of drains, and an idea of costume, of crinolines and top hats. There were also some typos: punctuation errors, missing words and speech marks going astray. Another proofread would tidy these up.
The novel will not take much time to read, but you will want to read it from cover to cover to discover ‘whodunnit’!