A huge thanks to Stephanie Caruso of Paste Creative for organising this blog tour and to Bradley Harper for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Giveaway – Chance to win a signed copy of A Knife in the Fog and a T-Shirt
September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another “crime story.” Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.
Once there, he is offered one month’s employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a “consultant” in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell–Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes–agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.
Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/2xMjcbV
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Indiebound (US): https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781633884861
I love the clever concept of this novel. I will admit it took me a while to get used to the writing style as historical is a genre I don’t often read but after a few chapters I was totally engrossed in this clever and atmospheric read.
Set in the 1800s, the story follows Arthur Conan Doyal (a doctor/author) on a journey to Whitechapel in London to consult on a series of grisly murders. Accompanied through the dark, mean streets by his guide Margaret Harkness he learns there is a different side to life than he has experienced. Can they catch a killer before another victim is taken?
The writing style has a formal and historical vibe that transports the reader back to the time period. Bradley Harper does a fantastic job of capturing the different sides of London and in particular, the grittier parts. I was so lost in the story at times the I was actually standing in those streets holding my breath, jumpy and nervous about every sound.
Including a lead female character in a non love interest role was a stroke of genius. Margaret Harkness is written as a no nonsense but kind hearted woman who can take care of herself better than most men. Doyle’s initial attitude towards is written with historical accuracy and as the story progresses she proves herself to be a formidable alli.
Overall I loved the concept of writing about Doyle as a character. Everything in this novel is written so well and great attention to detail really brings this story to life. It’s a great crime novel and a must for lovers of historical crime fiction.
Author Bio – Bradley Harper
Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over 37 years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some 200 autopsies, 20 of which were forensic.
Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.
Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.
Queen’s Gambit, the upcoming sequel to A Knife in the Fog will be released in September 2019.