Nickson, Chris - 'Come the Fear'
Leeds, Yorkshire in 1733. The Constable of Leeds is looking forward to spring. His home life is settled with his wife Mary and his surviving daughter Emily who is teaching in a local school. He still has his trusty deputy John Sedgwick and the local newspaper owner's son Rob is proving invaluable, and is courting Emily. There are changes however. There is a new Mayor and one who is more approachable than his predecessor. His old adversary Amos Worthy is dead but other pimps are trying to gain ascendancy in the city.
There is a fire in a poor district and they find a body of a young woman. What they discover and how she died chills Richard Nottingham and John and Rob and they know they must find her murderer. Their life suddenly gets more complicated when a London thief-taker decides to settle in the city. Also one of the new pimps with two girls he calls his sisters starts to make trouble. John has other trouble, his wife has given birth to a daughter and his son James is feeling neglected and keeps disappearing. When Nottingham realises there is also a child abductor working the streets, James's situation becomes critical. Rob is not without troubles as his father James Lister who runs the Leeds Mercury does not think that Emily is the right class to marry his son.
This is the fourth Richard Nottingham book from the author. The amount of research is impressive and it's fascinating to see street names still in use today after another three centuries and trying to imagine what they must have looked like. In eighteenth century Leeds the rich got richer and the poor poorer. The city's wealth had been based on buying and selling cloth. Particularly poignant was the scene of people so poor that they lived and slept outside around a communal fire.
This is an excellent series; well written with interesting detail. I particularly liked the fact that an old folk song formed the basis of part of this book's story. Nottingham is a survivor and has never forgotten his roots (and what his mother did to keep him alive) and is determined to serve the poor as well as the rich cloth merchants in the city he loves. Highly recommended.
Geoff Jones, England