Murder on High Holborn by Susanna Gregory
At the heart of this latest Chaloner mystery is the idiom: "the love of money is the root of all evil"; throw in a lot of superstitious ghostly stories around Holborn coupled with a charlatan "warlock", a few ridiculous plots by the Fifth Monarchists, some inept spies and a mighty fine cake maker and you've got all the necessary ingredients for another fine Susanna Gregory novel.
Thomas is back from his swift departure in the last novel to Russia. As predicted, his ship foundered in the ice and he lost all the jewels and missives from his master, the Earl of Clarendon - which provides Gregory a neat segue into this mystery when we open with the sinking of Admiral Lawson's ship, the 'London', in the Thames.
A temporary triumvirate of Clarendon, Prince Rupert and Spymaster Williamson order Thomas to investigate immediately after he's tasked with finding out who killed Paul Ferrine at Temperance's Gentlemans' Club. The former are concerned only to uncover treasonous plots now England is at war with the Dutch, the latter is trying to restore her club's good name. Unfortunately for Thomas he also has to infiltrate the Fifth Monarchists - who are espousing an Easter Day plot to blow up London - alongside the hugely inept spy William Leving. He does so as a gunpowder expert, replacing the dead previous incumbent of the post. On the plus side it does give him fair excuses to keep missing Hannah's pickled ling pie even if he does "feel like the worst kind of coward".
Into the seedy mix comes John Scott, self-professing Cartographer Royal; Lambe, the court mystic who specializes in both a fierce charisma, parlour tricks, and the help of Alice Fanshaw. A combination that predicts dire events that insidiously come to pass through all-too-human, nefarious deeds.
There is the Baptist Pastor, Nat Strange; the dissident, Roger Jones; a graveman, Manning; a drunk cannon maker, Sherwin; the watchmaker, Richard Quelch; a stockinger, John Atkinson - who is in a relationship with the baker, Ursula Adman; and a prostitute named Snowflake (far better than her real name of Consti Pate). The usual cast of characters ably assist with the narration - I do like the development of Wiseman as Tom's friend, even if he's a blatant reincarnation of Michael from Gregory's "Bartholomew" mysteries. There's also a nice cameo from Samuel Pepys, "navy clerk and member of the Tangier Committee".
The mystery is nicely confounding. It always is with Gregory - her puzzles are akin to the Times Crossword compared to other authors out there producing efforts that would only garnish "The Sun". This time we have plots with silver cannon, ideals of the 'Last Millennium', and a case of three hundred dead sailors to answer for. Everything to be neatly wrapped up in seven days; something Tom desperately needs to do with his wife's mounting debts and the brilliant idea Clarendon has to "fire" him so he can inveigle his way in with the conspirators - nonsalaried, of course.
Susanna Gregory remains my favourite current author; all other novels stop mid-read when one is available and the fact she is so prolific makes it almost a guilty pleasure to curl up in an armchair and ignore the world whilst being treated either to Plague Cambridge or Restoration London. Simply brilliant... long may it continue.
Murder on High Holborn by Susanna Gregory
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Sphere (16 Oct 2014)
This Murder on High Holborn book review was written by travelswithacanadian
All reviews for Susanna Gregory's The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner
A Conspiracy of Violence
The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner: Book 1
The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the reg...
The Cheapside Corpse
The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner: Book 10
London in the spring of 1665 is a city full of fear. There is plague in the stews of St Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to lea...
The Chelsea Strangler
The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner: Book 11
In the sapping summer heat of 1665 there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient m...
The Piccadilly Plot
The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner: Book 7
Thomas Chaloner is relieved to be summoned back to London. His master, the Earl of Clarendon, has sent him to Tangier to investigate a case of corruption. Chaloner will be ...
Death in St James's Park
The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner: Book 8
Five years after Charles II's triumphant return to London there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court and of corruption among his officials - and when a cart lad...
Murder on High Holborn
The Exploits of Thomas Chaloner: Book 9
In 1665 England is facing war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy and sedition. These are more frenetic than normal because of the recent sin...
Have you read Murder on High Holborn?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Murder on High Holborn reader reviews
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a reader review for Murder on High Holborn by Susanna Gregory; it really helps other readers find that perfect next read. Kindly enter your name, country and review below and click the 'Submit your review' button to send.
More recommended reading in this genre
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have me...
Edward M Erdelac
Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union ...
A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening
Mario de Carvalho
In the 3rd century AD, Lucerius Valerius Quincius, perfect of Tarcisis, an imaginary Roman City, begins his memoirs. His city is threatened from without and within. North A...
Set in the 5th century AD, Azazeel is the tale of a Coptic monk's journey from Upper Egypt to Alexandria and then Syria during a time of massive upheaval in the early C...
The King of Scotland is dead. The nobles fight over the succession, unaware that King Edward of England has plans of his own. For years, Edward has nurtured a fierce vision...
Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will cont...
The Language of Stones
The Realm is poised for war. Its weak king – Hal, grandson of a usurper – is dominated by his beautiful wife and her lover. Against them stands Duke Richard of ...
The Eagle Series
It is 42 AD, and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. If adjusting to the rigours of mil...
A Gladiator Dies Only Once
Gordianus the Finder, famed detective of Ancient Rome, returns in a riveting of stories. Nine tales of murder and intrigue take him from the seamy streets of Rome to elegan...
Great books also published in 2014
The Slow Regard of Silent Things
The University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below i...
Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service ...
Words of Radiance
Return to a planet swept by apocalyptic storms, a world tipping into war as aristocratic families move to control the shard blades and shard plates, ancient artifacts from ...
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines betwee...
Queen of the Dark Things
Two boys, spirited away into a dark world of myth and folklore that has lived, grown and changed alongside our world, have grown into men and now make their way. But faerie...
Prince of Fools
The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other. Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line t...
Dreams and Shadows
The Limestone Kingdom, a parallel universe where whisky-swilling genies and foul-mouthed wizards argue over the state of the metaphysical realm. Having left the spirit worl...
Actions have consequences. For Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg, those consequences involve prison. Specifically, an extraterrestrial prison where he and pretty much...
In Dark Service
Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He's living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter ... on those occasions...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: