The Man in the Canary Waistcoat

Written by Susan Grossey
Review by Janis Pegrum Smith

Bound within an extremely attractive cover, this well-produced sequel to Susan Grossey’s outstanding debut novel Fatal Forgery once again features the very likeable, if not loveable, Samuel Plank – and is an even better tale. The novel is another Regency financial crime to solve, as constable Plank pieces together the link between a suicide, an arsonist, an embezzler and a thief. From the aristocracy to the humble man on the street, constable Plank works it all out, aided by his steadfast wife Martha and young constable, Wilson, who the kind-hearted Sam has taken under his wing.

I was not a crime fan, but I am now. Susan Grossey’s style, meticulous research and attention to detail, not to mention extensive knowledge of the machinations of the financial world, makes her novels a fascinating, most delightful and engrossing read. Even though there is a complex financial aspect to the crimes, the concise writing style makes for easy, accessible reading. Her characters are Dickensesque in their colourful characterisation and depiction, and all are extremely well developed. It feels like the author has really got to know her main character in this second novel, and his relationship with his wife Martha makes for a wonderful added dimension outside the main plot. Constable Wilson was a very welcome addition to this second novel, and I hope he will continue to feature in the coming books. I predict this will become a very long running and successful series, and one I would love to see adapted for a television series. Susan Grossey, an emerging historical novelist to watch. I highly recommend this novel.