Two Bronze Pennies: A Police Procedural Set in Late 19th-Century England (D.I. Tom Harper Mysteries), by Chris Nickson, (Severn House), 224 pages, release date 1 August, 2015
Two Bronze Pennies provides a disparate set of tales. On the one hand, Detective Inspector Tom Harper has been charged with finding the perpetrator of a series of anti-Jewish murders in Leeds. This community, made up primarily of immigrants and their England-born children is tight-lipped and angry. Harper has difficulty getting the information he needs. He also worries that retaliative violence may break out at any moment.
On the other hand, Harper is also charged with assisting Capitaine Bertrand Muyrere, a French detective investigating the disappearance of Louie LePrince, the French inventor of “moving pictures” (sorry, Edison). LePrince was a historical figure and did disappear on September 16, 1890.
Harper is aided by his wife Annabelle, a self-sufficient pub owner with a bit more tact than the detective possesses. As a pub owner, she has an income significantly greater than Harper’s, which makes for some interesting moments between the pair.
If you enjoy historical mysteries, especially those carefully grounded in fact, Two Bronze Pennies will provide you with satisfying reading, taking you beyond the usual depictions of Victorian England to a complex, volatile time.