Thompson, Brian - 'The Captain's Table'
London 1875 and Sir William Skillane has promised his daughter Mary in marriage to a business associate Robert Judd. Judd however is an evil villain and will stop at nothing to gain Skillane's fortune. Mrs Bella Wallis meanwhile is trying to help an old friend Billy Murch to rescue his one time lady friend, the music hall artiste Molly Clunn, who is dying in one of the foulest parts of London. In addition, Bella's lover Philip Westland's friend - William Kennett - is in love with Mary Skillane and is determined that Judd will not prevail.
Switching between London, Rotterdam and deepest Cornwall. Bella is reunited with Westland and other good friends - Charles Urmiston, Hannah Bardsoe, Percy Quigley and Billy Murch.
This story is very entertaining and Bella becomes a much more "flesh and blood" woman than in the previous book, THE WIDOW'S SECRET. She continues to write popular fiction under the name of Henry Ellis Margam and in a nice touch "The Widow's Secret" is the current bestseller of the moment. Judd proves to be a worthy adversary and Bella and her friends are in constant danger and it is left to Billy Murch to save the day.
Full again of memorable characters with exotic names - Molocca Edwards, Liza Givens, Kashvilli (a bearded Georgian sea captain ) and Linny Trethewey, THE CAPTAIN'S TABLE is well written - as we've come to expect from the author. This is developing into an excellent series.
Geoff Jones, England