The Infidel Stain

The Infidel Stain

Book - 2016
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"Returned from their adventures in India, Jeremiah Blake and William Avery have both had their difficulties adapting to life in Victorian England. Moreover, time and distance have weakened the close bond between them, forged in the jungles of India. Then a shocking series of murders in the world of London's gutter press forces them back together. The police seem mysteriously unwilling to investigate, then connections emerge between the murdered men and the growing and unpredictable movement demanding the right to vote for all. In the back streets of Drury Lane, among criminals, whores, pornographers, and missionaries, Blake and Avery must race against time to find the culprit before he kills again. But what if the murderer is being protected by some of the highest powers in the land?"--
Publisher: New York :, G.P. Putnam's Sons,, 2016.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015.
ISBN: 9780399171680
Characteristics: xi, 420 pages : map ; 24 cm

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gvenkatesh
May 10, 2017

A good followup to the author's first novel in the series "The Strangler Vine". It follows the same formula - the impeccable historical research to spin a story out of relatively little-known events/characters, the Odd Couple protagonists that come together to solve a mystery gruesome enough to nudge the book into the Noir genre, Avery with the naive and biased views of the class of people he cannot identify with but growing to understand it, and Blake the worldly curmudgeon, etc. Even the predisposition of Avery to fall into effeminate protests when at odds with Blake rather than be a manly dude arguing with another is preserved from the first novel (perhaps unintentionally).

While the first book was set in India around the Thuggees, this novel returns to a much more familiar (to avid readers) setting of Victorian London whose misery and mystery are well documented in novels from Dickens to Doyle. But, it is the deep research into the underworld struggles and radical movements amidst the social unrest of the time prompted by the growing inequalities due to industrialization and directed against the "establishment" for the context, that sets it apart.

With some parallels to the growing social unrest of the current era prompted by the inequalities due to globalization, it is a small reminder of why history and historical accounts (even if fictionalized) are important enough to be read by all.

g
GummiGirl
Apr 25, 2016

I picked this up because I like historical novels, but it will appeal to mystery fans as well. It features a tight plot, memorable characters, and plenty of fine historical details. You'll want to read "The Strangler Vine" too, but you'll enjoy this book even if you haven't read that one yet.

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