Murder at the Fitzwilliam (The Museum Mysteries)

Written by Jim Eldridge
Review by Douglas Kemp

Cambridge 1894, and Daniel Wilson, formerly a detective inspector with London’s Metropolitan Police, is now working as a private investigator after the leaving the employment of his former boss, Frederick Abberline – both of whom worked on the notorious, but failed Jack the Ripper investigation. Abberline’s agency has been asked to investigate the circumstances surrounding the discovery of man’s body in an Egyptian sarcophagus in a display room of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The local police, notably in the form of the acerbic Inspector Drabble, are initially very much opposed to what they perceive as meddling outsiders, especially when they are former police officers and therefore know their stuff. Wilson teams up with an archaeologist working at the Museum, Abigail Fenton, who discovered the first body. As the investigation proceeds, there is soon another body and more events to complicate the case. Suspects and possible motives are adroitly assembled with a denouement that ties up the loose ends neatly.

It is an easy and enjoyable book to read, with the narrative rollicking along. There are a few errors and oddities – occasionally the dialogue seems a bit stilted and actions of the characters are sometimes rather unrealistic for the times in which the book is set. There are two further adventures for Daniel Wilson (and one presumes) Abigail Fenton planned for publication in 2019.