Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gods of Gold: Mini Review

Gods of Gold is the debut novel in Chris Nickson's historical mystery series set in 1890s England. It introduces the reader to Detective Inspector Tom Harper who must juggle an investigation into the disappearance of eight-year-old Martha Parkinson, the murder of her father Col Parkinson, and an assignment to help quell the violence expected in connection with the striking gas workers. 

The constable who has taken over Harper's old beat comes to the Inspector with his worries over the missing girl. Her mother is in prison (again) and her father claims he has sent the girl to stay with his sister. A sister that no one ever knew he had. The constable doesn't buy the man's story and neither does Harper once he interviews the man. Before they can make many inquiries, Col Parkinson is found dead the next morning. The description of a couple of toughs who called upon the dead man during the time period when Martha vanished cause Harper to believe that Martha has been sold. But to whom? And for what purpose.

Pressure from above forces Harper's superior to pull him from the local investigation to provide protection for the "black legs" who have been brought in to cross the picket lines and keep the gas works going. Things take a turn for the worse when one of the replacements is stabbed and killed outside the Town Hall and Harper will have to work twice as hard to solve both mysteries before the gas strike violence makes it impossible.

This is a fairly solid beginning to a new historical series. Good background and interesting set-up. I have personal difficulties with children in danger, but, fortunately, there isn't a lot of graphic detail about what happened to the missing girl. Harper and his sergeant, Billy Reed, have the makings of a good team--a little more depth to the characters, which hopefully will come as the series progresses, will add much to the story. The most finely drawn character, even though she isn't in the foreground throughout, is Harper's bride-to-be Annabelle. Perhaps this is because she is based on stories from Chris Nickson's father about a distant relative. ★★ for a promising beginning.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

That cover surely draws me in. I'm not sure a mystery surrounding a strike, unions and whatnot is for me but I'd give it a go hoping the political aspect takes a backseat to the mystery.
Great review.