The Prodigal Sister (Esther and Jack Enright #3), by David Field

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to David Field and Sapere Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Victorian England comes alive when David Field writes, particularly its criminal element. In another Esther and Jack Enright tale, the reader is transported to yet another murder scene, full of mystery and intrigue. When a woman’s body is found dead on the train tracks late one night, the police are called in to investigate. Detective Constable Jack Enright and his uncle, Detective Sergeant Percy Enright are directed to begin amassing evidence and leads, in hopes of discovering what might have happened to young Marianne Ormonde, the presumed victim. While Jack begins sleuthing, Esther is learning the ropes of motherhood, home with baby Lily. Esther has seen much change in her life, though caring for a little one is surely the most trying experience she’s had to undertake. After seeking to advise Marianne’s brother, Edgar, of her suspected death, Jack and Percy are left to wonder if they have a viable suspect. Standoffish and unwilling to help, Edgar Ormonde tries to deflect knowing anything, though other witnesses place him not only at the scene, but aboard the same train his sister rode. Needing an insider’s glimpse into the Ormonde family, Jack persuades Esther to go undercover again to lay a trap. While Esther is happy to help, she can only remember how she was almost killed on Jack’s last two major cases. Using some unorthodox techniques, Esther is able to shake Edgar to the core, but will it be enough to have him confess to murder? Field presents another winner in this series, whose brevity should not indicate that it is anything less than stellar. Perfect for those who love Victorian murder mysteries and prefer something that can be read in short order.

I was recently introduced to David Field and his work, which seems to have found a decent niche in the genre. After devouring a few novels in the past week, I knew this entire series would be on my ‘binge’ list. Field uses Victorian England as an eerie setting, as well as a handful of strong characters to propel this story forward, turning a compact plot into something both exciting and easy to enjoy. Esther Enright, now married and a mother, plays a lesser role in this novel, though her presence is still felt. She has been forced to adapt to a significant change in her life and has periods when she cannot help but wish that her husband would accept a more mundane position within Scotland Yard. Jack, on the other hand, is thoroughly enjoying this detective position, but can see the wonders of being a father and his young family, something that he is sure to miss the more hours he clocks while chasing the scum of the city. Jack and Esther continue complementing one another so well as they work yet another crime together, in new and exciting roles. The secondary characters prove entertaining within the pages of this story, using Cockney speech and salty sayings to take the reader inside the less refined parts of London while also allowing a sense of being in the middle of the action. The story flows well, unique from the past two pieces, and keeps a decent pace, with quick chapters helping propel things forward. Field has but a short time to develop his narrative, but always injects humour and banter when time permits. The writing leaves the reader wanting to know more and pushing to find out how a lack of forensic technology might be used to corner a seemingly obvious criminal. Field has done a masterful job with these novels and I await a fourth book’s release in the coming weeks. I can only hope that Field will continue crafting these addictive stories for fans who find them so enthralling.

Kudos, Mr. Field, for this wonderful novel. I am eager to read more Esther and Jack stories and hope others will follow my lead.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: