A death along the River Fleet

Susanna Calkins

Book - 2016

"Lucy Campion, a ladies' maid turned printer's apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge over the most vile portion of the River Fleet one morning when she encounters a distraught young woman, barely able to speak and clad only in a blood-spattered nightdress. The woman has no memory of who she is or what's happened to her, and the townspeople believe she's possessed. But Lucy is concerned for the woman's well-being and takes her to a physician. ...When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman's companion while she remains under the physician's care. As the woman slowly recovers, she begins-with Lucy's help-to reconstruct the terrible events that led her to Holborn Bridge that morning. But when it becomes clear the woman's safety might still be at risk, Lucy becomes unwillingly privy to a plot with far-reaching social implications, and she'll have to decide how far she's willing to go to protect the young woman in her care"--

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Mystery fiction
Historical fiction
New York : Minotaur Books 2016.
First edition
Physical Description
viii, 326 pages : illustration ; 22 cm
Main Author
Susanna Calkins (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Printer's apprentice Lucy Campion is crossing a bridge over the River Fleet, just months after London's Great Fire of 1666, when a woman appears, acting mad and asking for help. Lucy gets the woman to a doctor, who puzzles over the blood on the woman's clothes, the cuts on her hands, rope burns on her wrists, and her lack of memory of recent events, particularly when she is identified as Octavia Belasysse, the epileptic daughter of a lord whose family contends that she died months earlier. When a man's body is subsequently found on the bridge, circumstantial evidence points to Octavia as the murderer, an accusation Lucy will not accept. Meanwhile, even though she occasionally crosses class lines, Lucy must face the unlikelihood of a future with lawyer Adam Hargrave, son of the magistrate in whose household she formerly worked, as she ponders both Adam and Constable Duncan as possible suitors. Calkins' fourth in the Lucy Campion series illustrates seventeenth-century English medical practice and class structure in the course of spinning an involving tale. Solid historical mystery, with intriguing hints about the future.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

At the start of Calkins's sluggish fourth mystery set in 1660s London (after 2015's The Masque of a Murderer), printer's apprentice Lucy Campion encounters a bruised, bloodstained, and incoherent woman on a bridge while crossing the Fleet River. She brings the stranger to the home of her friend Dr. Larimer, who notices rope marks and signs of medical bloodletting before diagnosing hysteria and traumatic amnesia. After the doctor arranges for Lucy to care for the patient in his home, she's revealed to be Octavia Belasysse, an epileptic noblewoman believed dead by her dysfunctional family. When Octavia's brother turns up missing and a murdered corpse is found near where she was wandering, Constable Jeb Duncan, Lucy's beau, suspects that the noblewoman may be criminal as well as victim. Calkins deftly evokes period attitudes toward mental illness, but with a pivotal character too impaired to generate much suspense or action, the first half of the story doesn't do justice to Lucy's resourcefulness or the author's full gifts. Agent: David Hale Smith, Inkwell Management. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Lucy Campion is out early in the morning, delivering books for her employer, the printer Aubrey. It is April 1667, just months after the Great London Fire, but winter has not yet loosened its hold on the city. When Lucy encounters a woman wandering near Holborn Bridge, dressed only in a fine but bedraggled nightgown, Lucy takes her to Dr. Larimer to tend to her grievous injuries. The girl has lost her memory, but she and Lucy slowly begin to piece together the events that brought the daughter of a nobleman to the River Fleet. VERDICT This fourth series entry (after The Masque of a Murderer) stands well on its own. Lucy is a daring young woman who works hard to advance her place in life during a time when women had few options. A nice option for devotees of Anne Rutherford and Samuel Thomas, both of whom write series firmly placed during the same historical period.[Library marketing.] © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.