Free from All Danger

Written by Chris Nickson
Review by Loyd Uglow

Called out of retirement by the city fathers of Leeds to serve again as Constable, Richard Nottingham doesn’t feel up to the job. He’s old and tired now in 1736, and most of those he held dear are already dead, but duty beckons him. He returns to the job just as a vicious murder spree begins, which soon has the entire city clamoring for an arrest. One of the only people he can depend on is Rob Lister, the young Deputy Constable, who is also common-law husband to Nottingham’s daughter. Together the two policemen hunt the perpetrator through the brothels, pubs, and fog-shrouded streets of Leeds, and along the way Nottingham does what he can to ease the suffering of those dispossessed by circumstances and tragedy.

The novel has some peripheral shortcomings, but they are not fatal. Scenes are very brief, which gives a jumpy feel to the story. A subplot doesn’t deliver as much substance as might be expected. But all these are far outweighed by outstanding characterization—Nottingham is a very human and endearing character—and an intricate and satisfying plot, as well as excellent depiction of the setting.