Thursday, April 11, 2019

Death at Hungerford Stairs

Death at Hungerford Stairs. (Charles Dickens & Superintendent Sam Jones #2) J.C. Briggs. 2018. Sapere Books.  290 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Charles Dickens remembered the rats.

Premise/plot: Death at Hungerford Stairs is the second novel in J.C. Briggs' mystery series starring Charles Dickens. Dickens is an amateur detective (of sorts) assisting the police--namely Superintendent Sam Jones. Dickens and Jones are on the hunt for a serial killer--someone is targeting young boys. Can these two figure out WHO and WHY? How many boys will have to die as they piece together all the clues and track down suspects?

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved the first book in the series The Murder of Patience Brooke. I loved the characterization and the writing. Did I love, love, love Death at Hungerford Stairs? Yes and no. No, I didn't love, love, love to the same degree. Yes, I still loved the characters and the writing. This one is "packed" with murders, but dare I say it's not an action-driven mystery novel?! I think this one is--for better or worse--a character-driven mystery novel. To me the mysteries are definitely secondary to the characters themselves. Because I have grown attached the characters--and many of the characters introduced in the first book are still around--I am attached to the book. I have to keep reading this series. I have to stay in touch with these characters. I want more, more, more.

Murder was composed of secrets just as any three volume novel. Secrets were the staple of the novelist; they provided the mystery, suspense, and tension. In murder, the identity of the protagonist was secret, the characters in the story--for murder was itself a terrible story--possessed secrets, sometimes harmless ones, sometimes ones that were the key to the mystery, and it was the investigators who must uncover those secrets, and, this was dreadful, too; they must lay bare the lives of all enmeshed in the net of the murderer's making.
Speculation is the thief of time as much as procrastination so let's collar them both.
The omniscient narrator could place his characters where he would. The murderer would be caught, the criminal brought to justice. He had put Fagin in the condemned cell in Newgate; Sikes in a terrible irony had been hanged by his own rope as he attempted to escape. The missing would be found, restitution made and lovers could be united. But life, ah, life.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP