Thursday, 28 August 2014

HISTORICAL CRIME FICTION REVIEW: The Devil in Marshalsea - Antonia Hodgson

Release Date: 28/08/14
Publisher:  Hodder


WINNER OF THE CWA HISTORICAL DAGGER AWARD 2014. Longlisted for the John Creasey Dagger Award for best debut crime novel of 2014. London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors' prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's rutheless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules - even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain's beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet. Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom's choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder - or be the next to die. A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London, THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.


Whilst there are quite a few novels out there that deal with historical fiction or crime, very few delve into it from the point of view of the gaolee. In this case the books principle character Tom Hawkins who has to face the hell of a sentence in debtor’s prison. The book is well writer, the prose bringing the time period to life and when you throw into the mix a lead character that the reader can really get behind really does help the book move on at quite a clip.

Its definitely different to pretty much any other title out there and is a book that I was more than happy to read, add to the mix that its also a debut and I’ll be seeing what Antonia comes back with as her second outing. Great stuff.

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