The Mesmerist’s Apprentice

Written by L.M. Jackson
Review by Sara Wilson

Sarah Tanner is the mysterious owner of the Dining and Coffee Rooms on the corner of Liquorpond Street and Leather Lane. Who she is and where she has come from no-one knows, but most are happy to speculate. Sarah keeps her own counsel, but finds her quiet life is threatened when a local butcher is falsely accused of trading in horse-meat and Sarah decides to investigate.
Then an old friend comes to call and asks Sarah to look into the affairs of Dr Stead, a leading mesmerist and possible consummate charlatan. The two cases cannot be more different and yet the more she probes the more links she finds. Her discoveries soon lead her into danger and disillusionment.

This is the second novel to feature Sarah Tanner, and Lee Jackson seems to have really found his voice. As the author of the Inspector Webb novels he always provided good, solid entertainment, but with this latest series he has raised his game and produced some first-rate writing. Victorian London swirls into vivid life, complete with the low-life, the high-life and all the degrees in between. Violence and passion simmer just below the surface, and a real sense of fear dogs the reader through the ever-twisting plot.