The Devil’s Revenge
This is a murder mystery set in Maine in 1893. The victim has been not only killed but horribly disfigured, and occult symbols are discovered nearby. Policeman Archie Lean and criminologist Perceval Grey both follow the trail of a devious murderer who aims to use an ancient and lethal power for personal gain.
The pace is leisurely, the writing not incongruous for the time period of the story. It is certainly not a modern, blunt “who-done-it” with the obligatory expletive every other page, but almost gentle tale-telling with the two gentlemen (in the old-fashioned sense) following what clues they have without modern-day forensic techniques. Murder mysteries set in the modern day tend to move the story along at a sometimes breakneck speed, and this tale, by comparison, moves at a snail’s pace. Some readers will like this, others will not. Personally, I wished for a little more pace without losing the elegance of the setting.
Though I have been to Maine and the mountain Katahdin, the setting failed to evoke memories of my time in that state, which was a disappointment for me. American readers, or those who know Maine better than I do, may well disagree. They will enjoy the descriptions of the bombardment of Portland, the reservoir’s collapse and the rooftop chase at the Boston Athenaeum. All in all, an interesting read for lovers of Victorian sleuthing.
A Study in Revenge
442 (UK), 384 (US)