Under a Veiled Moon (An Inspector Corravan Mystery)

Written by Karen Odden
Review by Michael I. Shoop

Second in a series, Odden’s mystery is set in the politically volatile London of September 1878. Home Rule for Ireland is a real possibility, but there are those on both sides of the issue who want the plans thwarted at any cost. After the pleasure boat Princess Alice collides one night with a huge iron-hulled collier, the Bywell Castle, and some 600 passengers are thrown into the Thames with many drowning, Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan is called in to investigate. Many believe the Irish Republican Brotherhood to be behind the incident, as well as other terrorist activities that have recently occurred in Britain.

Irish-born and raised by an Irish family in London, Corravan faces huge obstacles in his investigation: witnesses gone missing, newspapers whipping up public sentiment against the Irish with misleading information, old secrets coming to light, long held anti-Irish attitudes, and his beloved adopted brother Colin being mixed up in an Irish gang in Whitechapel. With the help of his stalwart assistant, Stiles, and his well-connected novelist lover, Belinda Gale, the tough Corravan determinedly pursues the facts to convince his boss, Director C.E. Howard Vincent, that the plot to destroy the Irish Home Rule plan goes far deeper than anyone realized—reaching into the upper echelons of the English government and society.

Odden’s research into 1870s London is apparent, her characters well-drawn and believable, and the story held my interest throughout. My only wish is that it had moved at a little faster pace; at times the overabundance of historical detail and dialogue dragged down the story a bit for me. But overall, I found this a plausible and involving story of people caught up in desperate and tragic situations.