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.
Advance praise for The Solitary House
“A Victorian tour de force that borrows characters from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White…. Shepherd offers an intricate plot and a thousand details of the least-admirable side of Victorian life. A must-read.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Dickens fans will rejoice….a story of pervasive deviance so sinister that even those hardened to London’s nineteenth-century underworld will reel in shock….Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound by masterfully building suspense, creating a pervasively clammy and befogged atmosphere, and offering a cast of unforgettably peculiar characters, making the most of authentic, period language and a soupçon of subtle humor.” —Booklist (starred review)
""Shepherd follows her 2010 debut, Murder at Mansfield Park, which successfully channeled Jane Austen, with an equally satisfying reworking of Bleak House….The sensitive portrayal of [Maddox’s] relationship with his aging great-uncle and mentor lends depth. Maddox could well carry a series.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A sterling Dickensian novel…It is like falling into a wonderful time machine. Shepherd is a brilliant writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of Victorian England, which she uses perfectly to surround you with atmosphere and a story you won’t put down. Not to be missed.” —Romantic Times Book Reviews
“The star of Lynn Shepherd’s intriguing mystery novel is mid-century Victorian London, depicted in all its filthy glory and without a hint of the jolly charm that found its way into the tales of Charles Dickens….Her suspenseful story and winning prose ably serve her literary conceit.” —Associated Press
“Expertly, Shepherd has re-created Dickensian London but made it anew so that I never felt ‘why would you re-do Dickens’ but did feel, ‘why has no one done this before?’ . . . A cracking good story, well told.”—New Books (U.K.)
“A highly compelling, immaculately written nineteenth-century murder mystery with a lot of Dickensian references in the language . . . an engaging read.”—The Independent