Skin Like Silver (A Tom Harper Mystery)

Written by Chris Nickson
Review by Bethany Latham

In 1890s Leeds, a devastating fire rages at the railway station. When it’s doused, a woman’s body is discovered, melted steel having dripped all over her, giving her skin like silver. Detective Inspector Tom Harper soon discovers she didn’t die in the fire; she was murdered. The fire aspect brings Harper together with his estranged former partner, Billy Reed, now with the fire service. The list of suspects includes the woman’s abusive, wealthy husband, his family, and those opposed to her suffragist activities. Can the two policemen put aside their personal differences to work together and find a murderer?

Nickson has, again, demonstrated a comprehensive grasp of his setting of Victorian Leeds while crafting a police procedural with engaging characters and running relationship plotlines the reader is eager to follow. The mystery itself is, perhaps, one of the weaker ones in this series, giving the reader the feeling that things are padded to play out a bit too long — even though this is a short novel, the mystery could have been more quickly resolved. Still, this is another quick, pleasing read from one of the most capable historical mystery authors currently writing.