March, 1859. After the 'Great Stink' of the previous summer when Parliament was overwhelmed by the stench of sewage from the River Thames, and with cholera running rife throughout the city, Charles Dickens has a new enthusiasm. Having formed a firm friendship with Joseph Bazalgette, he is assisting the ambitious young engineer in his efforts to find a solution to London's pollution problem.
Dickens' friend and fellow writer Wilkie Collins meanwhile is distracted by thoughts of his pretty new housekeeper and her charming daughter. But what does he really know of his new employee's past - and just who - or what - is making her so frightened?
During an exhibition to showcase London's top engineers' plans to solve the sewage issue, proceedings are disrupted by a high-pitched, agonised scream - and the discovery of a blood-soaked body; the result - it would appear - of a terrible accident. Dickens however is convinced of foul play, and once again he and Wilkie Collins set about uncovering the shocking truth.
A Note From the Publisher
Average rating from 13 members
Wilkie Collins, on a dark and stormy night, rescues a woman and her child from a house where they are imprisoned. He takes them home and makes them his family. They settle in, but they will not tell him who their jailer was.
Then one night when Collins is entertaining his good friend Charles Dickens and a group of engineers searching for ideas to cure London of its sewage problems, the child hears a familiar voice that terrorizes her. But she will not identify the source.
"Spring of Hope" is the fourth in Cora Harrison's mystery series partnering Collins and Dickens. In this volume, Collins has just published "Woman in White", and Dickens is having to deal with family dynamics.
This entire series is filled with "I can't believe that!" passages that send the reader to the nearest search engine to learn that, yes, she's not making that up. It's historical but not all is fiction.
Keen And Vivid…
The fourth in the Gaslight Mystery series and another intriguing investigation for, the writers come amateur sleuths, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens. With a keen and vivid sense of time and place and a vein of wry humour, this is an atmospheric tale of murder most foul with a wholly credible cast populating the plotline.
I did not realise that Spring of Hope was the fourth in the Gaslight Mystery series, so I appear to have missed out on a good thing here and will need to play catch-up at some point.
For those that have ever read anything by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, you will know that they write exceedingly good gothic atmospheric tales. In the latter case, eerie and sensational ones as well. (Think, The Woman in White and The Moonstone.)
It was fascinating to see these two individuals working as a team. Playing Victorian writer-sleuths Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens would obviously be compared to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. But that was not really the case, as they both bought their own individuality and skills to the table. It was interesting to see the dynamics at play between the two characters. As with Holmes and Watson, the banter between the characters can be humorous.
I thought the main protagonists were well portrayed, and the author did an excellent job of bringing them to life. The author manages to paint a vivid picture of Victorian London, with its sights, sound and unfortunately its smells.
Spring of Hope by Cora Harrison is a well-crafted and well-researched crime thriller. There are a lot of Victorian books of a similar ilk doing the rounds at the moment, but this is one of the better ones.
Spring of Hope is intelligent and intriguing, refreshing and realistic. They may not knock Holmes and Watson off their number one perch, but Collins and Dickens are most certainly worth taking a look at.
Thank you, NetGalley and Severn House, for the ARC.
Another compelling journey into the darkness of English society in the 1850s with the genial Wilkie Collins and his friend Charles Dickens as they try to painstakingly untangle the various threads behind the death of a man during an engineering experiment. Was it a murder or an unfortunate accident?
Once again Cora Harrison offers us a well crafted whodunit, a worthy addition to her Gaslight Mystery Series full of interesting historical details, a vast and colorful fictional tapestry of Victorian England with a cast of exquisitely drawn characters, a clever plot that involves human trafficking, scientific progress, gender inequality, greed, ambition, violence against women, political shenanigans and murder. A Dickensian dish of human frailties during the great Industrial Revolution.
Highly recommended and to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Canongate/Severn House for this terrific ARC
It's 1859 and Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins find themselves investigating a murder connected to the Great London Sewer System. And, Collins rescues a woman - Caroline Graves - from an abuser. She eventually becomes his mistress, I leaned quite a bit about the sewer and found myself poking around for more info about Collins. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. For fans of historical mysteries.
I came to this as a great fan of the author's Mother Superior mystery series set in Cork in the 1920's, and was really worried that this change of period and scene would not work for me. But Cora Harrison's story telling wins through, and the bringing to life of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins (who indeed befriended each other in real life) makes for good reading. The plot works, even if we can guess the villain fairly early on, and the sights and smells of Victorian England is readily brought to life. I look forward to more in this series - but also to the Irish set series from this author as well.
I love this series and I love Cora Harrison's historical mysteries
This was excellent, well developed, gripping, entertaining.
Well researched historical background, interesting characters, solid mystery.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
This is a well-written cozy mystery featuring amateur sleuths Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens as they attempt to solve a murder that occurred during an engineering conference. This fourth book in the Gaslight series does not disappoint.
I received a free copy of this book from Severn House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.