Saturday, December 12, 2015
The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
March Middleton, a young, sensible, smart woman, is sent to live with her guardian when she is orphaned. As it turns out, her guardian is the famous detective, Sidney Grice. As she arrives at her new home, a series of grisly murders have begun. Questions of guilt and innocence, love and loyalty, class and status, and masculinity and femininity, are explored within a clever mystery with lots of twists and turns.
Kasasian is highly aware of the homage he is creating to another detective duo, Holmes and Watson, and he plays around with this very cleverly. There are even references to Grice needing a "Boswell", and March's visit to a certain famous doctor. Kasasian depicts Grice as a Holmes who never had a Watson. Grice seemingly lacks humanity and takes delight in other's misfortunes as they offer him chances to earn money by solving their crimes. But as March inches more and more into Grice's life, a tender side does start to emerge, which I felt was highly necessary to keep Grice from being a character impossible to like.
Something tragic is hinted at in March's past, and by the end of the novel, there are still many mysteries surrounding what happened to her. I definitely want to read the next book in the series to find out the answers.