This is the second book in Karen Odden’s Inspector Corravan mystery series. I had little to no problems reading it as a standalone, but starting with the first book would be beneficial. It is 1878 and Corravan is assigned by Scotland Yard to investigate the collision of The Princess Alice with The Bywell Castle in the Thames River. Over 400 lives are lost. Corravan, who was adopted by an Irish family, the Doyles, tries to conduct an impartial investigation as the newspapers and Scotland Yard seem to be convinced that the Irish Republican Brotherhood is to blame. Corravan tries to maintain calm as anti-Irish sentiment abounds. The details of the crash and the personalization woven into the investigation are impressive. The author’s research is obviously meticulous as she takes us throughout London at that time, both while investigating the crash and while Corravan deals with Irish gangs.
This is a very detailed book as we follow every facet of the investigation. Karen Odden’s ability to bring to life an investigation of a real-life shipwreck that happened over 140 years ago is impressive. Inspector Corravan is also thrust into the aftermath of the crash, rescue, and recovery in a realistic way, and we see all the horrors as he experiences them. The inside look at the Irish gangs and politics is intriguing, and the overall treatment of the Irish at that time is heartwrenching. The soft side of Corravan really doesn’t come out until we meet his love, Belinda, about 30 percent into the book, but those who have read the first book in the series would already have known her and seen this side of the Inspector. Their romance is compelling but does not take over the book. The Doyle family dynamics and the tension caused by decisions made years ago also become a significant part of the story.
My only slight criticism at all is that the first 10 to 15 percent of the book before the shipwreck happens moves a little slowly. The pace picks up significantly after that.
This is a well-thought-out, meticulously researched historical mystery with compelling characters. I highly recommend you check out this series, starting with the first book, Down A Dark River.
I received a free copy of this book via Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
I did a spotlight of this book for an Austenprose blog tour recently, and the author information, book description, and buy links are at the above link. Just click on SPOTLIGHT.
Above is an Amazon link to buy both books in the series.