A medical student discovers the latest body he obtained illegally for study was murdered and he feels compelled to bring the killer to justice. This is all complicated by his own very real danger of being arrested and hung for snatching the body in the first place by the coldly, capable policeman hot on his trail.
Yep, had to read it. There was no saying no after I saw that situation. I had to know how it all turned out. And bonus, I got to try a new to me author.
The story begins when medical student, Cadell Meredith, nearly gets caught graverobbing by a dangerous gray-eyed policeman. He gets the body home and uses it to further his studies, but then makes the gruesome discover that his body was murdered. He is in a quandary. He feels compelled to seek out the truth and give the dead man justice, but he can’t just go to the police or it will be him who dangles from a rope. He must seek the truth on his own.
Between classes, his work at the apothecary, and dodging Officer Blaine Breton’s suspicions, he slowly follows the trail of the killer. He has to learn all he can about the dead man to do it so uses the underhanded means of impersonating a policeman and breaking and entering to further his quest. A troubling former lover and a rare friend from his present also help aid him. Cadell has more motives and suspects than he can count on one hand. Those he tracks are ruthless and cunning and some are from the nearly untouchable upper class. One false step and it will end badly.
During the course of his investigation, he is forced to face his past when the lover whobetrayed him wants a chance at forgiveness and maybe something more, when a new man shows an interest, and his own doomed interest in the very man who wants to arrest him and see him hanged. The roguish Cadell deftly makes his way through it all.
Alright, Cadell is a brilliant creation. That is all.
Okay, no, that is not all, but it is the salient point about this book. The character of Cadell and his subsequent detecting and romantic adventures are good stuff. Well, maybe I overstate the romance since its more him sorting through his feelings for what he wants and having the courage to not settle for less. The focus of the story is definitely more on the suspense element, but the character and relationship plots are right there to lend depth and emotion, too.
I enjoyed the attention to historical authenticity. It was the early days of the police force and things were still very rudimentary when it came to the art of detection. I liked that the story spanned all stratas of society and that Cadell was not from the upper classes. He had an education and he had a small inheritance, but he was working class.
The author reveals Cadell’s backstory slowly so that his present situation is known, but the rest is slowly revealed. He is a complex man. He is tenacious, hard-working, loyal, compassionate, passionate, pragmatic, but there is a touch of larceny, too. He is very much a Lone Ranger even when he is with others. He was hurt and betrayed by his family and others not accepting him so the aloofness is his protection.
Cadell is the narrator and everyone else is made known through the filter of his observations and dialogue. I liked that the others around him were left deliberately mysterious. Breton is probably the most intriguing and I loved the antagonism and attraction between the two men. Nothing is easy, simple, or quick with these two.
The story resolved completely, but I would really love for it just to be the first of many mysteries in which Cadell and Blaine work together to solve even as they work on a more personal relationship. I think those who enjoy m/m historical mysteries or romantic suspense should clear your weekend and settle in for a good one.
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.