Synopses & Reviews
Lynn Shepherd’s first acclaimed novel of historical suspense, Murder at Mansfield Park, brilliantly reimagined the time of Jane Austen. Now, in this spellbinding new triumph, she introduces an unforgettable duo of detectives into the gaslit world of Dickens.
London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.
On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.
To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.
But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.
Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: it plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.
Praise for The Solitary House
“A Victorian tour de force . . . a must-read.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Dickens fans will rejoice. . . . [Lynn] Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound.”—Booklist (starred review)
“The star of Lynn Shepherd’s intriguing mystery novel is mid-century Victorian London. . . . Her suspenseful story and winning prose ably serve her literary conceit.”—Associated Press
“Intellectually enthralling, with dark twists at every turn . . . a haunting novel that will have you guessing until the last pages.”—Historical Novels Review
“Lynn Shepherd has a knack for setting literary murder puzzles. . . . This literary magpie-ism is a treat for book lovers, a little nudge-and-a-wink here and there which delights fans of these other works without alienating those who haven’t read them yet. . . . An intelligent, gripping and beautifully written novel.”—The Scotsman
“The reader is plunged into a complex but comprehensible labyrinth of deception.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Shepherd follows her 2010 debut, Murder at Mansfield Park, which successfully channeled Jane Austen, with an equally satisfying reworking of Bleak House, which Dickens once considered titling The Solitary House. The Machiavellian lawyer from Bleak House, Edward Tulkinghorn, seeks out private operative Charles Maddox, who was discharged from the Metropolitan Police after butting heads with Inspector Bucket (another character from the Dickens novel), ostensibly to track down the poison pen writer targeting Sir Julius Cremorne, head of London's oldest merchant bank. The omniscient narrative voice reveals that Maddox is being used as a stalking horse, and the reader is soon plunged into a complex but comprehensible labyrinth of deception and violence. Maddox makes some serious missteps, a refreshing change from the typical all-knowing detective. The sensitive portrayal of his relationship with his aging great-uncle and mentor lends depth. Maddox could well carry a series. Agent: Ben Mason, FoxMason." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lynn Shepherd is the author of the award-winning Murder at Mansfield Park. She studied English at Oxford and was a professional copywriter for over a decade. She is currently at work on her next novel of historical suspense, A Treacherous Likeness, which Delacorte will publish in 2013.