As the long Easter weekend begins, Ed in editorial is recommending The Fourteenth Letter:
Here’s something fun, macabre and fascinating for the brightening spring: a lose-yourself-in-it debut set as one world – that of Queen Victoria and the cosy certainty of Empire– was withering, and another one less predictable, one budding. This latter was a time when electricity was like magic, ideas such as eugenics were heading down very dark paths, and in which America was becoming the glamorous centre of the world.
In this milieu Evans sets in chain a mystery centred around timid legal clerk William Lamb, who becomes embroiled in an underworld of violence, a clandestine upper-class cult and his own search for identity after the murder of an aristocratic bride at her engagement party. It’s immense fun – author Claire Evans knows a thing or two about storytelling, having worked for a long time with BBC Drama and now for the producers of The Missing. Best of all is native American criminal on the run Savannah Shelton, who teaches young William just what a hero looks like, all swagger and quips.