Walthamstow, 1902: Archie and his police sergeant pal Frank Tyrell investigate the disappearance of teenager Lilian and the discovery of a corpse in the River Lea – Eleanor ‘Nell’ Redfern.
Did her father’s ambitious plans to marry her to a rail magnate cause her to run away to her watery doom? And what about Lilian Steggles, a star swimmer with her eye on the 1908 Olympics – what prompted her to disappear from home and where is she now?
Archie uses his artistic skills to identify Nell and thence to track down her story and that of the other victims of a dastardly scheme to exploit young girls for the benefit of lascivious older men.
Jacqueline was born on Anglesey and brought up in Walthamstow, where many of her stories are set. She is a retired primary school teacher, now living in Buckhurst Hill, Essex. She has published three books with Piatkus – Someone to Watch Over Me, Wrong Way Up The Slide and A Lazy Eye. This is her fifth book for Honno, which combine her love of writing with her other interests: art and social history.
This was a really enjoyable, though quite dark at times, historical crime novel. Archie is a police artist, but seems to be quite involved in the investigative side too.
Surrounded by smart women, from his mother to his daughter, he knows that the missing girls didn’t just dissolve into thin air and aims to solve every disappearance, even if it isn’t good news.
Smart, witty and full of heart, this was an inventive and engaging book, I think I might pick up the others in the series, despite their historical setting, these feel fresh and just as gripping as anything set in the 21st Century.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.