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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 4 star ratings
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Sneaky Spy

    It is a tragic story of old How Women were persecuted for being free and under the command of MEN. With her Father throwing her out, Lizzie finds refuge in a Brothel run by Mrs. Farley. It is London 1759 and murder suspects are chosen not by evidence so much as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When one of her visitors is murdered the detective in charge, William Davenport, looks to pin this act on Liz. Many characters but the story flows nicely. Another sleuth mystery with an unlikely person with an eye more acute than the police. Liz follows clues to clear her name. "A copy of this book was provided by Canelo via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
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    A Captivating tale!

    Death and the Harlot was an interesting, absorbing story with strong, captivating protagonists. It was a nice change-of-pace break from serious life stories, one I thoroughly enjoyed. Georgina Clarke writes a fine tale. I hope this is just the first chapter of Lizzie's story. Georgina Clarke is an author I will follow. Lizzie Hardwicke is a working girl in 1759 London. Her 'house' is in Soho, run by middle-aged madam Mrs. Sarah Farley and while not at the top of the quality houses of prostitution in London at that time, Mrs. Farley's place is clean and well-run and the girls are treated well. Fed, housed, protected, and free to wander in the daylight hours, Lizzie knows she could be a lot worse off. When Mrs. Farley finds a young teen wandering and frightened, in despair after her father threw her out for refusing to marry a man twice her age who would help the family establish themselves in society, the solution as Lizzie sees it is to hide her in the attic until they find an alternative lifestyle solution for Amelia. Amelia, who is in love with Tommy, a blacksmith's helper, so they must find Tommy a job. Mrs. Farley doesn't necessarily agree, but she gives Amelia and Lizzie a few days grace before she starts charging 'rent' for a room. Lizzie is determined to steer Amelia onto a different life course, as her own tale was so similarly mapped out. And then the body's begin to pile up. Lizzie's the prime suspect in the first death, one of her latest customers, so she does all that she can to find the real culprit for police runner William Davenport before she is charged with murder and hung. Lizzie will encounter more death, blackmail, and the 'dirty' side of 1750's London before the solution falls into place. I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Georgina Clarke, and Canelo publishers. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this book of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.
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    A brilliant historical murder mystery

    Georgian London 1759, Miss Lizzie Hardwicke is a working girl, a prostitute, working for Madame Farley who employs girls to entertain the menfolk of London. After an evening with wealthy businessman George Reed, a cloth merchant from Norwich, Lizzie is eager to get rid of him so invites him to the masked ball the brothel is holding the next day as long as he leaves immediately. Whilst at the ball George comes across a young woman who is staying at the brothel after being kicked out by her father for loving the ‘wrong’ boy. She is not a working girl, but this doesn’t stop George trying his luck. After creating a scene George is thrown out of the brothel and the next day is found murdered at the back of the local tavern, garroted by his own handkerchief. His purse and pocket watch are missing, along with some papers he was carrying. Constable William Davenport is sent to investigate the murder and soon turns his attention to Lizzie who was one of the last people to see him alive. To help clear her name Lizzie tells the constable that she will find the killer as no-one will suspect her of looking for the killer and she can see and hear things he wouldn’t. The constable agrees and the two begin working together. I have a love/hate relationship with historical fiction so I wasn’t sure what I would make of Death and the Harlot as the Georgian era isn’t a period I remember reading about before. However, told in the first person from Lizzie Hardwicke perspective the book was most enjoyable, especially as Lizzie’s voice comes across strong. She is also a well-educated woman for her age and profession. The plot has many layers to it as not only do we have the working girls of London and the murder of George Reed we also have a group of highwaymen that are in the area after their leader John Swann was captured, who are causing mayhem. As more information about George’s murder comes to light most of the characters we had met early on in the book become suspects. The mystery unfolded nicely with the pieces falling into place as the story progresses. Georgina Clarke has written a fantastic debut novel that not only kept me wondering throughout who the killer could be and how all the pieces slotted together but it kept me entertained from the beginning until the very end. I am pleased to learn that this is the first in a planned series as I can’t wait to meet Lizzie again. This is a book that will appeal to those who love a good murder mystery as well as those that love historical fiction too.
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