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by Susanna Gregory
Sphere, January 2011
339 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0751541826

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It is 1664 and, as ever in Susanna Gregory's Thomas Chaloner series, there is danger in the air. Before Chaloner can save him, a man is murdered in broad daylight on London Bridge. Chaloner's employer, the Lord Chancellor, fears that the killing could be the first step in a rebellion against the newly restored king. As Chaloner investigates, he learns that the man was not the first to die on the Bridge and, unless he is able to prevent the criminal activities being planned to culminate on Shrove Tuesday, will not be the last.

The Thomas Chaloner novels are always a pleasure to read and A MURDER ON LONDON BRIDGE does not disappoint. While regular readers may come to tire of some of Gregory's stock phrases (for example, if Chaloner's dagger slips into his hand one more time, I could cheerfully scream), her characterization is excellent and there is no need to have any prior knowledge of previous books in the series. The usual characters are as strong as ever and Gregory's villains for this novel are as nasty a bunch as Chaloner has come across.

As with other Chaloner novels, the long list of characters and a number of plot twists do require the reader's concentration, but it is worth it, as the story is interesting and exciting, with Restoration London brought to life in all its chaos, confusion and contradiction. To assist readers with the background, Gregory always includes a historical note at the end of the novel to provide details on which of her characters were real and events based on true events, and this is useful, as it can be somewhat confusing, especially for casual readers who are not historical scholars.

All in all, A MURDER ON LONDON BRIDGE is another rich chapter in the series and one that is a pleasure to read. I would be particularly interested in seeing the Chaloner novels turned into television episodes, as I feel that they would lend themselves well to it.

Luke Croll is an editor and translator who is based in Nairobi.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, January 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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