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Esther and Jack Enright

The Posing Playwright by David Field

The year is 1895 and Detective Inspector Percy Enright and his nephew Detective Sergeant Jack Enright find themselves investigating a highly sensitive case. Playwright Oscar Wilde stands accused of homosexuality and with the possibility of high profile names being mentioned in court, the detectives must work to suppress any scandal. Meanwhile, in a second case, which Percy believes is connected, a peer has vanished on a train, and the carriage he was travelling on has also disappeared! With both detectives clearly out of their comfort zones, they hope that, this time, there will be no element of danger for anyone connected to them…

Like the first in this series (The Gaslight Stalker), David Field has used a real historical event as the backdrop for this book, namely the trial of Oscar Wilde. When reading this book, it must be remembered that it is set at a time when homosexuality was illegal and people’s opinions were very much different to today. As a result, some other reviews I have read have commented on the highly inappropriate language used by some of the main characters. While it is correct to find this offensive today, it would have been common usage in the late Victorian era when attitudes, in general, were very different.

Although the title is The Posing Playwright, and the main plot is, indeed, about Wilde, it was sub-plot that interested me the most, and could have been something straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel. Not only has a man disappeared, but, somehow, so has the whole train carriage he was travelling on! I enjoyed Percy’s investigations on the railway as to how this seemingly impossible feat could have occurred and also learned a lot about the Victorian railway system in the process!

While this was not my favourite in the series, it was still an enjoyable read. I just hope that we see more of Esther in the next book as she only played a minor role in this one.

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of the series:

The Gaslight Stalker

The Night Caller

The Prodigal Sister

The Slum Reaper

 

 

 

The Slum Reaper by David Field

The year is 1894 and a slum clearance is in operation in the East End of London. With some of the tenants refusing to leave their homes, Sergeant Percy Enright is rightfully concerned when five local people are found dead. With those in charge of the clearances claiming the deaths were as a result of accidents, Enright knows that they were murdered. When his nephew and colleague, Jack, and his wife Esther are informed that the niece of one of their neighbours has gone missing, Percy fears that there could be a connection. Again, Esther is called upon to go undercover to find the true extent of what is happening.

Although he has been a prominent character in the previous three books, The Slum Reaper sees Percy taking more of a central role. Injured in the course of duty, Jack has been sidelined, placed behind a desk in the records department and hating every moment! Of course, this doesn’t stop Percy from using Jack’s new role to his advantage, causing problems for his nephew in the process! It was good to see more of Percy in this book, a character who has no problems about bending the rules to secure a conviction.

Again, Esther plays a pivotal role in the plot, this time using her skills as a seamstress to infiltrate the house of a suspect. Her evidence leads to the case taking a rather unexpected turn, giving the police the proof that they need to take the case forward. Esther is a character I enjoy reading about, a traditional Victorian wife in one respect but a forward-thinking modern woman in another.

With the launch of a new department, I look forward to seeing what the future holds in store for Percy and Jack and I’m sure it won’t be too long before I read The Posing Playwright!

 

The Prodigal Sister by David Field

When the body of a woman is found on the railway tracks, the police initially think it is a case of suicide. When Detective Jack Enright and his uncle Percy discover the true identity of the women, however, they soon realise that all is not what they first assume. Suspecting murder, they need to get close to her family in order to find out the truth, so Jack’s wife, Esther, is tasked to go undercover, putting herself in danger in the process…

The Prodigal Sister is the third book in the Esther & Jack Enright mystery series, and we see the home circumstances of our heroes have changed dramatically. Now married with a young child, Esther isn’t really used to staying at home and so is not completely against the idea of going undercover, even if it could prove to be dangerous. Esther’s role does, indeed, prove to be pivotal in smoking out the killer, even if it is as a result of some rather unorthodox police tactics!

We discover quite early on who the killer is, as they are identified quickly by Jack and his superior officer uncle, Percy. The fun in this book then isn’t ‘whodunnit’, but in seeing the lengths the police (and Esther) will go to in order to secure a confession.    The methods they used place this book very definitely in the Victorian era and helped to provide a snapshot of the psyche of a lot of people of that time.

This is a great series, ideal for anyone who enjoys historical crime fiction, and I’m already looking forward to reading the next one.

Previous books in the series:

The Gaslight Stalker

The Night Caller

 

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