About the Book
When Superintendent Tom Harper’s wife is threatened during an election campaign, the hunt for the attacker turns personal.
Leeds, England. October, 1897. Superintendent Harper is proud of his wife Annabelle. She’s one of seven women selected to stand for election as a Poor Law Guardian. But even as the campaign begins, Annabelle and the other female candidates start to receive anonymous letters from someone who believes a woman’s place lies firmly in the home.
The threats escalate into outright violence when an explosion rips through the church hall where Annabelle is due to hold a meeting – with fatal consequences. The only piece of evidence Harper has is a scrap of paper left at the scene containing a fragment from an old folk song. But what is its significance?
As polling day approaches and the attacks increase in menace and intensity, Harper knows he’s in a race against time to uncover the culprit before more deaths follow. With the lives of his wife and daughter at risk, the political becomes cruelly personal …
With thanks to the author for the copy received.
Even though this book features characters from a series, I read it as a standalone novel easily. There are two investigations that are taking place, the one which I preferred is set in Leeds. A series of violent attacks against women who are standing for election to become a Poor Law Guardian is too close to home for Tom Harper. One of the women is his wife Annabelle. With the centenary of the women’s right to vote and the dedication at the beginning I felt that this storyline covered a very important time in our history. The author shows how attitudes were very different at the time and how hard the women fought.
The other investigation concerned a smuggling ring in Whitby. Whilst this was also good, and it served as an introduction to what I may have missed in the other novels it didn’t interest me as much as the other.
I liked Annabelle’s determination and resolve not to give in to threat. She definitely hated having to abide by her husband’s wishes in having an officer with her at all times. I also liked Tom, with him, I did wonder about the storylines I had missed but with no spoilers in the novel I can easily catch up with the other books.
I enjoyed reading about Leeds, an industrial city that was growing but everywhere affected by the pollutants from the factories. It did feel slightly strange reading about the area in which my family came from.
The narrative flowed easily and it was a nicely paced read. There were no sudden shocks or cliff hangers, it almost felt like cosy crime. I will read more by this author.