by Georgina Clarke
Series: Lizzie Hardwicke #2
Genres: Historical, Mystery
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‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…’
When an undercover assignment for the Bow Street magistrate sees prostitute Lizzie Hardwicke trade Ma Farley’s Bawdy House in Soho for life as a seamstress the theatre on Drury Lane, it becomes clear quite quickly - what goes on in the wings is much more intriguing than the theatrics being played out on stage…
Soon Lizzie is once again thrown together with the handsome Inspector Will Davenport when a high profile investor is brutally hanged at centre stage and Lizzie discovers the body. With the suspect list rivalling any casting call, Lizzie will have to use every trick she’s hidden up her sleeves to unravel the tangled threads and bring the culprit into the spotlight.
It’s the third Wednesday of the month which means, Sophia Rose is here. Today she’s got a historical mystery that sounds delightful. Grab an iced tea and check out her thoughts on The Corpse Played Dead by Georgina Clarke.
Sophia Rose’s Review
Georgian London was vibrant and colorful and I love when I can get a gruesome murder and a clever cast of characters in such a setting. A courtesan and a Bow Street Runner make up the detecting team of this series and it’s an interesting a dynamic as you would suppose.
The Corpse Played Dead is the second entry in the series. I missed the first book in the series (but will be going back for it, now) and had no trouble jumping in since the mystery and situation are standalone.
Lizzie Hardwicke, courtesan in a high-priced brothel, is notorious these days after starting out one of the accused and then helping solve a murder. But, even as her madam wants to cash in on her fleeting fame, a certain Bow Street Runner appears and needs her expertise in working a case from the inside. Davenport wants her to go undercover in Garrick’s Theater to discover if the string of disasters are really sabotage as Garrick suspects. But, her first night after meeting all the players and stage hands, she discovers a gruesome murder and theater accidents become the least of her worries.
Lizzie is a complex character with a past that has her falling from the Gentry class before becoming a successful high-price courtesan. She’s bright and observant and knows human nature and motives well. A rough start with Davenport now has them on a more solid footing though she is well aware that this widower, former physician and still current gentleman in class even though he is one of Fielding’s Runners is out of her class.
As fascinated I was with Lizzie and Davenport, I also found the theater setting and cast of characters surrounding the mystery just as fascinating. The author did her homework on Georgian London, Garrick, his theater, and the early Bow Street Runners under Fielding. I took in the background of this story through all my senses as a result of the descriptions given. The bustling, sometimes dangerous streets of London from Covent Garden to the dignified West End and the colorful and bawdy world of the theater particularly back stage.
The mystery was clever. I had some of it figured out, but there was a final twist that gave me a big ‘aha’ when some things took on their full significance after I knew the truth. The clues came as Lizzie observed the people around her at the theater and took the initiative to slip in some questions. She had good instinct and she was smart about extricating herself from dangerous situations. She’s a great detecting heroine and I can’t wait to see her and the redoubtable Davenport in action for many more murder mystery cases.
All in all, I was well pleased with this new historical mystery discovery and can heartily recommend it to other fans of the genre.Sophia Rose shares her thoughts on The Corpse Played Dead by Georgina Clarke a clever historical mystery. Click To Tweet