The cry of the hangman

Susanna Calkins

Book - 2021

Murder always sells. But when a series of dark and puzzling crimes takes place in seventeenth-century London, will printer's apprentice Lucy Campion be publishing the news - or starring in it? London, 1667. Printer's apprentice Lucy Campion is unsettled when, on a frozen December morning after church, an elderly woman dressed in mourning clothes whispers an ominous warning in her ear. Lucy sternly tells herself it's nonsense, but then her much-loved former master, Magistrate Hargrave, is viciously attacked with a brass hourglass during a break-in. But what exactly was the intruder searching for? And why did they first stop to steal a piece of Cook's lamb and lentil pie? The puzzling case is just the start of a series of ...dark, bizarre crimes. Lucy's determined to uncover the truth and see that justice is done. But someone is equally determined to stop her - whatever it takes. This page-turning historical mystery set in Renaissance London is a great choice for readers who like their heroines lively, their mysteries twisty and their historical settings brimming with authenticity.

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Detective and mystery stories
Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Historical fiction
London : Severn House 2021.
Main Author
Susanna Calkins (author)
First world edition
Physical Description
234 pages ; 23 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Lucy Campion, a former servant turned printer's apprentice, is a gifted amateur sleuth in seventeenth-century London. In her sixth outing, she takes on a chilling new case when her former master, Magistrate Hargrave, is brutally attacked in his home. Worse, his attacker also steals Hargrave's personal papers, which could be damaging if they were made public. The papers contain the magistrate's candid thoughts on court cases where he believes the presiding magistrate may have made errors. To his dismay, some of his sometimes brutally honest thoughts soon appear--anonymously, but with enough information that astute citizens can determine the author's identity. Lucy is determined to retrieve the papers and save Hargrave further embarrassment; and, with the help of her two current suitors and a fellow printer's apprentice, she unravels the disturbing and tragic story. Set just after the Great Fire, which destroyed large swaths of London, the story is packed with intriguing historical details, which ably support a clever plot and a captivating heroine. Another winning entry in Calkins' popular series.

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

Set in 1667 London, Calkins's twisty sixth Lucy Campion whodunit (after 2020's The Sign of the Gallows) finds former servant Lucy thriving as a bookseller's employee. She now produces books and writes true crime accounts, albeit without being credited as their author. Her oral recitation of one of her grim stories is interrupted by a rival orator, who recounts the gory tale of a fraudulent tooth-puller, Geoffrey Knight, whose botched procedure led to a death several years earlier. The Donnetts--a soap maker and his wife--provided the damning testimony that sent Knight to the gallows. Soon after Lucy hears about the case, the Donnetts are murdered--the wife stabbed with scissors, the husband scalded by lye dumped on his head. Lucy investigates the killings and their possible link to an assault on her former master, magistrate Thomas Hargrave, by someone who stole Hargrave's private papers. Calkins makes her lead's sleuthing plausible while playing scrupulously fair with readers, few of whom will identify the murderer before Lucy does. This series keeps getting better. Agent: David Hale Smith, InkWell Management. (Nov.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A printer's apprentice tackles a murder. Life is hard in 17th-century London, but Lucy Campion has made the most of her talents. Originally a housemaid, Lucy won permission from her employer, Magistrate Hargrave, to apprentice herself to printer Horace Aubrey. In Aubrey's shop, she and Lach, her male counterpart, create stories and ballads that they print, illustrate, and sell in the local markets and taverns. Lucy's tales have gained a modest following when suddenly she finds her audience whisked out from under her by handsome bookseller Phineas Fowler, whose bloodthirsty narratives and compelling delivery leave her literally in the dust. What concerns her as much as the loss of customers is the provenance of Fowler's tales, since many of them resemble cases tried by Hargrave. Fowler's renderings often cast her former boss in a bad light, blaming him for deciding cases unfairly and, ultimately, corruptly. Lucy suspects that Fowler's accounts are connected to a stash of case notes that were recently stolen from Hargrave. But as she probes the connection between Fowler and the stolen files, the more recent murders of soap makers Guy and Mary Donnett make their way into Fowler's repertoire. Unraveling the tangled skein of murders old and new, theft, deception, and corruption is a hefty order but not beyond the ability of Calkins' resourceful heroine. Creepy and ingenious. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.