Edinburgh Dusk (Ian Hamilton Mysteries)

Written by Carole Lawrence
Review by Alana White

Edinburgh, 1880. In this, the second Ian Hamilton mystery, Detective Inspector Hamilton investigates the death of a married railroad lineman from the effects of arsenic poisoning and then the death of a prominent banker in a prostitute’s bed from strychnine poisoning. The link in the two cases appears to be sexual transgressions on the part of both men.

Several characters from the first book, Edinburgh Twilight, walk through these pages, including Hamilton’s brother, Donald (an alcoholic presently “on the wagon”) and Hamilton’s likable aunt, Lillian Grey, a talented photographer who in this story assists her beloved nephew as a crime scene photographer. Interesting new additions are medical student Arthur Conan Doyle and pioneering physician Sophia Jex-Blake, the first practicing female doctor in Scotland, and one of the first in the wider United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, who reports the first death.

As in Edinburgh Twilight, the author casts readers into the killer’s point-of-view. Soon enough, we suspect the killer is female. Deaths are piling up—and she is watching Ian. The author’s description of Edinburgh in wintery November is evocative. Prospective readers should be aware that child sexual abuse forms the dark heart of this tale, with explicit scenes (graphic memories) described throughout.