The year is 1912 and when the body of a man is found in the back of a cab, the police know they have their work cut out when they find that he was known to the notorious Irishman, Danny O’Rourke. With known associates refusing to reveal his whereabouts, Sergeant Inskip must try by all means possible to root him out. The waters are muddied, however, when Lucy, the seven-month-old niece of cabinet minister, Edmund Latimer, disappears, taken whilst on a walk in the park. Could the kidnapping be linked to Latimer’s involvement in the Irish Home Rule Bill currently passing through parliament and is there any connection to the dead man? Latimer’s wife Alice is desperate to uncover the truth, unaware that she is probably not going to be happy with what she discovers…
This is the second book I have read by this author, and like the previous one, Heirs and Assigns, Marjorie Eccles has managed to convey a rich portrait of what life was like for a section of society in the past. In Against the Light, we see a stark contrast between the privileged life of the Latimers and the trials faced by the working class in the east end of London. It was also good to, again, see the character of a strong woman with Alice Latimer’s work as a doctor.
I did have a few reservations before reading this book, knowing that there were going to be references to the Home Rule debate in Ireland. I was concerned that the mystery element of the story would become overshadowed by politics but, thankfully, this was not the case. While the political part of the book is essential to the plot, it is merely a backdrop to all the other aspects of the story. The different sub-plots all link together nicely and there are a few surprise moments. I also liked the way real-life situations were weaved into the plot with, for example, reference to the Titanic disaster.
Another great read from Marjorie Eccles which is available from September 1st 2016.
With thanks to NetGalley and Severn House Publishers.