Book Review: Interviewing The Dead (Carlyle & West Victorian Mysteries Book 1) by David Field

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery
Publisher: Sapere Books
Pub date: 15 June 2020

Should you be afraid of the dead โ€“ or the living?

London, 1892

Over two hundred years ago, in 1665, a mass grave was dug to house the hundreds of corpses who fell victim to the Black Death. When Aldgate Underground station was extended, the workmen discovered the grave and unceremoniously dumped the bones, to make way for the new track.

Now, a renowned spiritualist is claiming the dead are rising to punish Londoners.

Strange encounters start to be reported in Londonโ€™s East End with some people dying from unexplained causes.

People start to panic, and distressed parishioners consult local preacher, Matthew West, looking for reassurance.

Matthew is at a loss and turns to local doctor, James Carlyle, for answers.

Carlyle and West have very different views on science and religion, but they decide to work together to get the bottom of the mysterious deaths.

Has a curse really been put on London? Have the dead risen from their graves?

Or could a serial killer be loose in the cityโ€ฆ?

I was interested in reading this as I’ve enjoyed previous books by Field and was intrigued by the description of a Victorian mystery.

This is the first book in a new series by David Field and introduces the characters of Matthew West an East End preacher and James Carlyle a surgeon at the London Hospital.

Although these two characters view matters such as death from completely different viewpoints I really enjoyed how their relationship developed to that of an almost friendship with respect shown to each other’s beliefs.

Field has interlaced fiction with history to create a striking representation of the slum areas of London and the hardships felt by some living there.

Given that there were usually six rooms per house, this meant that almost fifty people of all ages and states of health shared the damp unhealthy space, served by a single water tap at the rear that operated for ten minutes of each day, with the exception of Sunday’s and the competition for which caused many a violent brawl.

I liked that reference was made to Jack the Ripper which remains a mystery even now so was a good means of portraying the fear when people begin dying.

Admittedly I didn’t think I would like Adelaide (Carlyle’s daughter) based on her introduction to the story but she develops into someone you can’t help but admire and I enjoyed how she became a prominent character to the story as well as the progress in the relationship between her and West.

As the first book in a series, this has been perfect for introducing the main characters and the backdrop of London and it’s conditions.

I wholly enjoyed the mystery and the way it was solved including the few twists along the way and I await the next book in the series!

Interviewing The Dead is available here

Thank you to NetGalley and Sapere Books for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my review.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases

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