It’s interesting to read this novel at the same time as watching Downton Abbey on TV. Both recreate the divided society of England’s recent past convincingly, with pleasing characters and mysterious plots. And both are high on my list of favorites.
Donna Fletcher Crow’s A Tincture of Murder starts with a terrifying scene that shocked and startled me, not having read any reviews before starting the book. But life goes on, successfully, and a deeper, more shocking darkness awaits, not in the halls and luxury of a rich man’s home, but on the dirty streets of York, within sight of the famous York Minster.
Dickens would approve the author’s depiction of orphan homes and miserable poverty. Modern England would approve the generous spirit that declares even society’s rejects should be given food and hope. And common sense agrees that wide crinoline skirts might suffer as their wearers walk through the muck and murk of a downtrodden street.
The blend of well-researched history and intriguing mystery goes well with this mix of rich world poor world sensibilities. Take a balloon ride over the English countryside. Enjoy the waters at Harrogate. Then ponder the ingredients of precious home-brewed medicines. But most of all, enjoy this fast-flowing novel with pleasing characters, convincing locations, and thought-provoking social order. In the end all will be resolved, lives saved, and hope restored.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to be given a free ecopy of this novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Now I need to find more Lord Danvers tales.