Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders
1880. In London’s East End underworld, the fearsome Lady Ginger reigns supreme, ruling her criminal empire with ruthless efficiency. Opium dens and various dodgy music halls are under her sway. Everyone, in particular her ‘girls’, do exactly what she tells them. But she has a problem. Someone is stealing her girls, and that cannot be tolerated; the guilty party must be found and made to pay.
She decides that seventeen-year-old Kitty, bold, impetuous and brighter than she realizes, will be the bait. Kitty’s high-wire trapeze act will become the sensation of London. From up high, Kitty will be able to spot any nefarious goings-in – and woe betide her if she does not come up with information leading to the perpetrator being unmasked. Kitty has no option, for the Lady knows the whereabouts of her beloved missing brother and has made it clear that Joey’s life is at stake if Kitty does not do as she’s told.
I really enjoyed this book. The seedy world of Limehouse’s opium dens and Victorian theatre-land is chillingly drawn, as is the sinister Artisans Gallery in Mayfair where bored aristocrats queue up to view the brilliant but decadent painting The Cinnabar Girls. This is also a coming-of-age story; Kitty must jettison all her preconceptions about people she loves and learn to see the world as it truly is. On her journey, she will encounter many dangers and come face to face with some of her worst fears; and it’s not only her own life that is at stake if she fails. This book could be described as Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray meets Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, but with thrilling and dark edges all its own.
I can’t wait for Kate Griffin’s next book. Highly recommended for girls of fourteen plus.