Though the Heavens May Fall

Written by E. V. Thompson
Review by Valerie Loh

Amos Hawke, a Scotland Yard detective, is given the opportunity to return to his native Cornwall supposedly to trace his absent father. However, it is 1856, and finding the murderer(s) of two Excise men and the latest, a respected teacher, is his real mission. Discovering if a link exists between the deaths is just one question he has to answer. Amos takes lodgings in the home of the grieving widow and daughter, Talwyn, of the deceased teacher; an arrangement that has an unfortunate and uncomfortable beginning; despite this, it is Talwyn who plays a crucial role in his mission and life.

Amos discovers far more than he had ever hoped for as he completes his task. His path crosses with evil men, with scant regard for life beyond their own, yet his determination and professionalism to see justice done bring their own rewards.

Life in the city of London is carefully portrayed in stark contrast to that of the scenery and style of life in Cornwall. The sense of community in the latter is shown in its strongest light as families work together to survive a hard existence, mistrusting any foreigners who visit their towns and villages. This is paralleled with the weakness of how this loyalty can be controlled by evil men. The story sweeps along in short chapters as the mystery deepens and the characters’ lives become closely entwined. Heartfelt moments contrast with the gritty, harsh reality of life in 19th-century Cornwall. The novel successfully encompasses mystery, murder and romance; a very enjoyable read.