The Secrets of Gaslight Lane
This is the fourth book in the delightful Victorian Gower Street Detective series. Sidney Grice and his ward/assistant, March Middleton, take on a locked-room murder case. Cherry Mortlock’s father, Nathan, who was heir to the Garstang fortune, was murdered in his bed. Twelve years earlier, the Gartangs, his uncle and aunt, were murdered along with their servants. The only survivors were a maid, the valet, and Nathan, who were all cleared of the crime; but the murders remain unsolved. Cherry wants her father’s murder solved. Grice and Middleton see a connection to the earlier mass murder, so they set to work finding answers to both cases.
This series is reminiscent of Dickens and Lemony Snicket with reminders of Sherlock Holmes. The writing is funny, witty, and macabre, and the characters are eccentric and quirky. Sidney Grice is very precise and rigid in his ways. He is rude, blunt, and completely lacking in charm, and prides himself on not being encumbered by human emotion. Like Holmes, no detail goes unnoticed by Sidney Grice. March Middleton, his assistant, is clever and smart. She is a good counterpoint to Grice’s quirks. Grice’s maid, Molly, is laugh-out-loud funny with her challenges in following orders and bungling her words.
This book can be read as a standalone because there are only passing references to previous events, which doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of this wonderful book. This is one of my favorite series, and the fourth installment is as strong as the first three.