November 30th, 2013


Book 214: Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

Book 214: Mayhem (Dr Thomas Bond #1).
Author: Sarah Pinborough, 2013.
Genre: Historical Fiction. Serial Murders. Victorian England. Supernatural. Drugs.
Other Details: Hardcover. 339 pages.

When a rotting torso is discovered in the vault of New Scotland Yard, it doesn’t take Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, long to realise that there is a second killer at work in the city where, only a few days before, Jack the Ripper brutally murdered two women in one night. Though just as gruesome, this is the hand of a colder killer, one who lacks Jack’s emotion. And, as more headless and limbless torsos find their way into the Thames, Dr Bond becomes obsessed with finding the killer. As his investigations lead him into an unholy alliance, he starts to wonder: is it a man who has brought mayhem to the streets of London, or a monster? - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Before opening this book and reading the author's preface, I had not heard of the Thames Torso Murders, which took place during the same time period as Jack the Ripper was active. They were over-shadowed in later years by the Ripper murders. Here Sarah Pinborough brings both series of murders into play in a superb Victorian police procedural with a notable difference.

Going in I had expected a straight forward mystery and so I was surprised and delighted by its supernatural element. Looking into Pinborough's body of work it seems that she does write in this field of supernatural crime fiction as well as re-told fairy tales.

The novel was very engaging and I applauded how well Pinborough captured the atmosphere of the period and her strong characterisations, especially of Dr. Bond. I am planning to get my hands on other novels including the forthcoming sequel to Mayhem due next year simply titled Murder.