Murder in Belgravia

Written by Lynn Brittney
Review by Mary Fisk

London, May 1915. Lady Harriet Murcheson has confessed to the murder of her husband, but will only divulge the details to a married woman of her own class.
This prompts the investigating officer, Chief Inspector Peter Beech, to press forward his idea for a special unit to investigate crimes involving women. He is given permission to trial a small undercover team of his choosing – Dr. Caroline Allerdyce, the widowed Victoria Ellingham, PC Billy Rigsby (ex-Grenadier Guardsman and former boxing champion) and DS Arthur Tollman, with his encyclopaedic memory of decades on the Force.

The murder case soon takes the team into a sordid world of drugs (legal and illegal), prostitution and criminal gangs.

London during the First World War comes vividly to life – a world where old social orders are beginning to break down and women are moving in to support the war effort in roles once seen as exclusively male, but where the spectre of loss and the squaddies on their way to the Front (and returning damaged) are ever present. The shock of a Zeppelin raid opens up a whole new threat to the civilian population in wartime.

This is a strong opening instalment to a continuing series.