The Devil's Ribbon
A Hatton and Roumande Mystery by D. E. Meredith
Review: Professor Adolphus Hatton and his assistant Albert Roumande continue to develop and use forensic science to solve crimes in The Devil's Ribbon, the second mystery in this historical series by D. E. Meredith.
It is July 1858 and the morgue is filled with bodies, dead from a cholera epidemic. Most of the dead are Irish, who fled the great famine of a decade earlier to seek work and food in London. Forced to live in slums, they were the most susceptible to the disease when it hit. Tensions are running high in the city, with the Irish blaming the British for not doing more to help them. Now, a series of murders has Scotland Yard puzzled. The victims have little in common other than being found with a green ribbon stuffed in their mouths. The police call in Hatton and Roumande to assist them, their first task being to determine — though forensic analysis — if the ribbons are from the same cut of cloth and if so, can its origin be determined. Separately, an Irish priest and his followers have been setting off bombs in various parts of the city. With resources stretched thin, Hatton and Roumande are pressed to produce results quickly … before more terror is unleashed upon the city.
The Devil's Ribbon is a well crafted historical mystery, providing enough background on the conflict between the Irish Catholics and the British Protestants to give a solid backdrop to the story, but not so much that it drags it down. The macropolitical situation is mirrored on a personal level when Hatton becomes enamored with the widow of one of the Irish dead. The scope and extent of the terrorist plot adds an extra level of excitement to the proceedings but, all the same, seems a bit far-fetched; whether it is based on any historical fact is unknown.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Devil's Ribbon.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Devil's Ribbon for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Devil's Ribbon: London, England
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The Devil's Ribbon by D. E. Meredith — A Hatton and Roumande Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: October 2011
List Price: $25.99