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Monday, February 09, 2015

Children of the Tide by Jon Redfern

Children of the Tide 

Book description:  London: the early 1840s. The birth of the young Queen Victoria's first child is taken as an auspicious sign for all. But on a cold March night, a spree of dark crimes in shadowy workhouses shocks the city.

When Inspector Owen Endersby, of the recently formed London Detective Police, learns that the string of identical murders and abductions have all taken place under similar circumstances, he fears a monster is prowling the city. How long until the murderer strikes again? Is this the work of a diabolical killer, or a madman with confused motives? Facts are scarce. Endersby and his sergeant, Thomas Caldwell, must start an investigation based on the fitful testimonies of terrified girls and one peculiar clue: a piece of curtain lace found in the throats of the victims.

Inspector Endersby is middle-aged and happily married.  No tortured inspector with tragic past or angst in Endersby.  It is an interesting departure from the common detective trope to have a rotund protagonist (with gout, no less) who simply attempts to do his job to the best of his ability, to be conscientious, to use logic, and to try to withhold judgement until the facts are in.  

There have, of course, been other fat, middle-aged detectives including Nero Wolfe and Andy Dalziel (Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe police procedurals are my all-time favorites), but you have to admit that they are rather a rare breed.

At any rate, Inspector Endersby and Sergeant Caldwell are likable, if thin, characters, and they do their best to employ the new methods of policing endorsed by the founder of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Robert Peel.

I found two things annoying:  1) the overabundance and artificial feel of the quotes (and you know how much I love finding Shakespeare quotes).  The use of the quotes just didn't fit naturally for some reason; they felt forced.  2) The use of the term "demon familiar" to describe Endersby's tendency to anger and violence that he had to struggle to control.  The term was used so frequently that I gritted my teeth each time I read it.

The mystery itself was a bit convoluted and had a few red herrings.  

Read in September; blog post scheduled for Feb. 9, 2015.


Historical Mystery/Police Procedural.  Feb. 28, 2015.  Print length:  296 pages.


  1. Happily married? That is a nice change. :-) I am sorry this one wasn't better for you, Jenclair.

  2. :) Yep, and married for a long time. I wasn't as happy with it as I had hoped to be, but them's the breaks.

  3. The setting and premise are quite interesting. It's a shame this novel didn't work for you.

    1. I like the time period and the London setting, but little things bothered me and kept me from really appreciating the story.

  4. I like reading flawed detectives; it makes them all so real. Then again, I don't mind reading about the happily married ones, either. ;)

    The premise and the setting do sound interesting, though. Let's hope the next book will be better.

    1. I like flawed detectives, too. And I liked that Inspector Endersby was fat, had gout, was logical in his approach, and wasn't too quick to judge. In spite of the fact that he was physically fat, his character was thin and not as well developed as he could have been. The next book may see Endersby and Caldwell have more depth. Characters often seem to grow of their own accord. :)