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.
Lindy@ A Bookish Escape
This sounds like it was such a cleaver mystery with an interesting setting! Lizzie sounds like an awesome heroine/main character. Awesome Review Sophia!
This sounds like a captivating mystery! I do enjoy when I can jump in a series, and still enjoy the book.. Glad to hear reading this installment made you want to go back to the previous book as well. Wonderful review, Sophia Rose! 🙂
Yes, it is nice to be able to jump right in on this one. I do want to go back to the beginning now. 🙂
My goodness, I’ve never heard of this author, but this story sounds absolutely fantastic, and so creative!. And to have a twist at the end sounds like the perfect mystery. Definitely need to check this one out. Thanks Super Sophia and Kool Kimberly! Hugs, RO
I hadn’t either, but the title and cover caught my eye and I had to give it a go. Hope you end up liking it, Radiant Ro! 🙂
Oh… The title and cover caught my eye, but this sounds even better. I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts on the first book, knowing how much you enjoyed this one. I look forward to hearing more. Thanks!
Yeah, hoping to get back to the first one soon, Jen. I have a feeling I might like it even better just from the hints in this one.
when i read the title, i thought it would be a cozy. i do enjoy a historical fiction novel every now and then
It didn’t feel about a cozy, but it wasn’t exactly a thriller, either.
Jenea's Book Obsession
Now this sounds right up my alley! I’m off to check our library now. 🙂
Hopefully they have it, Jenea! 🙂
I just grabbed the first book Kim so I’m excited to see this one was even better!
I look forward to seeing what you think of it. 🙂
You are just everywhere aren’t you LOL 🙂
and this my friend is just what I need so I’m off to look into book 1
thanks for sharing xo
I sure am. 🙂
Sensational! Glad I could put one in front of you that grabbed your attention. 🙂
I think I would really enjoy this one as well. It looks really intriguing!
I was won over quickly. Hope you like it when you get the chance, Melliane!