David Field presents readers with another novel about the criminal element of Victorian England in the latest Esther and Jack Enright piece. While Jack and Esther are in Essex with their four children, Percy has been stirring up the pot in the Met and finds himself out of a job, at least temporarily. Word of how well the Enrights work has made it through the ranks of Scotland Yard, where a special team is being assembled. In preparation for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, security has begun to hash out potential violent plots. While Her Majesty is the primary focus of protection, one cannot forget many of her grandchildren, who are monarchs in their own countries. When whispers of a Fenian plot surface, Jack and Percy are given undercover positions in the ‘Irish Group’ to suss out potential leaders. While the work is just what Jack loves to do, it puts an obvious strain on his marriage. Esther may have finally become aware of the mistress called Work and how she can ruin a happy marriage. All the while, a mystery man appears at Esther’s door, someone who could also derail the Enright family in a single day. With the Jubilee approaching, Jack and Percy can spare no time as they seek answers, which reveals gaping holes in security, and trouble from the least expected places. Field does a masterful job of putting together a great story that will keep the reader enthralled throughout. Fans of the series will likely enjoy this latest piece, as might those readers who love Victorian mysteries that are read in short order.
I enjoy promoting David Field whenever I can, with a writing style not only easy to comprehend, but provides the reader with historical context happenings during the Victorian era. Settings and political events come to life throughout this well-paced series. I rushed through the first few novels when contacted by the publisher, and knew that I would return as soon as more novels appeared in publication. Field uses the story’s setting effectively, shifting from the home in Essex to the streets of London without losing the narrative’s strength. Jack and Esther remain strong characters, though Field injects some new developments to create some disarray. Might the ongoing investigations that exemplify Jack’s choice to put work before his ever-burgeoning family finally have left Esther at the end of her rope? Percy and some of the other supporting characters do well to fit into the narrative, helping to enrich the criminal investigation and adding unique flavours that permit Field to explore the topic of treason and assassination from a variety of vantage points. Field keeps the story fairly straightforward, though can never be accused of diluting or oversimplifying things for the curious reader. Field effectively educates the reader all about the Fenians and Irish uprisings, ahead of some larger bloodier events in history. These short reads can be digested in a single day without feeling cheated. One can only hope that Field’s collection of ideas does not dry up anytime soon, as these novels are perfect for a reader who enjoys historical fiction.
Kudos, Mr. Field, for another success. I see a few more pieces are coming down the pipeline and I anticipate their arrival!
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons