Tom-All-Alone’s by Lynn Shepherd
Review by Amanda Donovan
Tom-All-Alone’s immerses the reader into 19th century grime and crime from the very first page. I was grabbed by the poetic style of writing, the Dickensian atmosphere and the feeling that I was walking the stench-filled streets of 19th century London with the protagonist, Charles Maddox. If you enjoyed Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and White, then you will love reading this book.
Lynn Shepherd is the omniscient narrator and writes in the post-modern style of John Fowles’ French Lieutenant’s Woman. The reader gets the feeling that they are looking in on Charles life and gain clues and extra insights from the narrator along with clever comments that will bring you back into the present day.
This brilliant retelling of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House takes the reader on a Victorian journey across the foggy, filthy and prostitute filled streets of London. Charles, a private detective investigates a horrific crime of babies buried on top of each other at Tom-All-Alone’s cemetery. The lawyer, Edward Tulkinghorn gives him a simple job of investigating nasty letters his client has received. Nothing is as it seems when Charles digs deeper and discovers gruesome Jack the Ripper style murders and fears for his own life.
The clever plot and sub-plots link together at the end to form a satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended!