Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Mangle Street Murders - Review

The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian

Rating: 4 Stars

Description:  After the death of her father, 19 year old March Middleton, goes to live with her unknown godfather and new legal guardian, the famous detective, Sidney Grice.  March is intelligent, compassionate and quick on her feet. Grice is surly, arrogant and believes that women should be seen and not heard.  When a woman arrives at their home to beg Grice to investigate the murder of her daughter and prove her son-in-law innocent Grice and March quickly find themselves at odds.

Genre: Mystery

My Impression:  I was expecting a clean British procedural type mystery like Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers.  What I got was a Sherlock Holmes type character with a glass eye with an interest only in justice and a young woman who truly wants to help. Grice is Holmes-like in the fact that he is perfectly aware of his brilliant and doesn't care about making others feel better.  There is no hidden heart of gold here or sudden burst of kindness.  He cares for his reputation as a detective but doesn't care if people like him.  March is easy to relate too.  She's a mix of tough and compassion and is anxious to not just find justice but to make things right.  She dislikes her guardian but admires his brain.  He dislikes her but she earns a tiny bit of respect when she is able to deal with dead bodies without flinching.  The mystery isn't really a who-dunnit and is much more of a did he do it?  All this happens against the dark, dank, crime filled backdrop of turn of the century London.  There were a few things that jarred me while reading this book.  I didn't particularly care for the letters or journal entries that ended a few chapters.  While it provided a deeper look into March's past there wasn't really enough to serve a purpose.  Also, an earlier murder becomes important to the conclusion.  I had to flip back to find the details because it had only been mentioned at the beginning.  The conclusion was wrapped up nicely and had kept me guessing through the book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:   Yes, I think these characters have a lot of potential to make a fascinating series.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes, but I think I would be very clear that this is not a cozy.

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