Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows (Kitty Peck 4)

Written by Kate Griffin
Review by Charlotte Wightwick

This latest instalment of Kate Griffin’s series takes us once again into the world of the Victorian East End. At the end of the last book, the eponymous heroine Kitty Peck had just discovered the full extent of her grandmother’s betrayal. Kitty had been left personally and financially embroiled with a menacing set of underworld Barons. She had decided that, whatever it took, she would extricate herself and her beloved music halls from their criminal world. She is a resourceful, engaging and energetic heroine, and I had been looking forward to seeing how she would achieve this.

Quite why, therefore, Griffin has chosen to have yet another shadowy figure (this time, possibly working for the government, although we never really learn how or why) emerge to bump them all off for her is a bit of a mystery. Kitty is left to unravel the mystery of the Barons’ “treasure”, to find out why a travelling preacher has taken against her, and to discover more about her family history. All of these storylines are interesting and do link back to the Barons, but they feel a little like side-plots in comparison with the initial main set-up of the novel.

That said, Griffin’s writing is fluent and evocative, bringing London’s seedy underbelly to life with all its sights, sounds and smells. Her protagonists are likeable and engaging, and her villains are suitably dastardly. The plot is entertaining and rattles along with plenty of twists and turns. Overall, therefore, this is an enjoyable and entertaining read.