A young woman, Natalie Meadows, jumps from Blackfriars Bridge, escaping from the horror she has just witnessed. But she is rescued and feels duty-bound to find out who murdered her best friend, the music hall star Nellie Warwick, and why. Natalie reinvents herself as Flora Thorne and finds a position as housemaid to the Reverend Wallace and his daughter. From the sanctuary of their home, she is able to investigate the circumstances of Nellie's murder. What she uncovers is a conspiracy of silence and corruption, and of unscrupulous men preying on women like herself and Nellie. Her attempts to unmask the killer and to bring him to justice exact a heavy price on Natalie. LONDON DUST is a powerful evocation of the underbelly of Victorian London, full of flavour, completely convincing and utterly gripping.
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(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Set in 1850s London, this enjoyable tale teems with lawless rogues and wronged heroines. The plot concerns Natalie Meadows, a 'fallen woman' on a quest to unravel the mystery of her friend Ellen's murder. We are presented with a Dickensian array of suspects, most of whom guard dark secrets. The novel is tightly structured, interweaving character, setting and circumstance with great skill. Jackson allows no time for breath, and the final chapters hurtle through a number of twists before providing a satisfying, if rather bleak, conclusion. Jackson's characterization is robust. The friendship between Natalie and Ellen is convincing and poignant, and also impressive are the criminal Henry Shaw, anguished Daniel Quill and the obsequious Arthur Wilkes. But perhaps the most remarkable character is London as it broods over the whole proceedings. Jackson's descriptions of the grubby, deprived back streets are highly evocative: Victorian social life is depicted unflinchingly, and the descriptions of scurrilous gutter press men, sooty commuters and gin-addled prostitutes remind us of how little as well as how much has changed. Jackson's dialogue is lean yet effective, communicating a vivid sense of Victorian hierarchy - the competitive conversations between prostitutes are particularly well observed. This is a taut thriller that will be enjoyed by all who harbour no illusions about Victorian England. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Lee Jackson
Lee Jackson trained as a librarian and has worked in various London legal colleges. He lives in London.