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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Companion by Ann Granger

The Companion
Ann Granger
320 pages
rating 4 stars

My Amazon Review:


“In the corners of the room the shadows cast velvety veils. It would not be too difficult to imagine someone stood there and watched. I thought of Madeleine Hexham.... I glanced around me. It was likely that I'd been given my predecessor's room and that it was here she had planned her flight into the arms of her mysterious lover.”

When Lizzie Martin arrives in London in 1864 to become a lady’s companion, her first impressions are disturbing. She’s barely out of the station when her cab encounters a wagon carrying the remains of a young woman recently dead.

At her new home, Lizzie learns that her predecessor, Madeleine Hexham, disappeared without a word of warning. Despite rumors of immoral behavior surrounding the girl’s departure, Lizzie is soon persuaded that there’s a deeper mystery here. Her suspicions are tragically confirmed when Inspector Benjamin Ross delivers shocking tidings.

Lizzie is determined to unravel the truth about the lost Miss Hexham. As, too, is Ben Ross: a man who cares about justice, whatever the class of victim. But they must tread carefully, as a cornered killer is the most dangerous of all...

My Review:
The companion was a well written, accurate and intriguing historical mystery. Set in Victorian England, the story is told through Lizzie Martin, a country doctor's daughter, left penniless by his death, and Benjamin Ross, a young Scotland yard detective who is tied to Lizzie through a past association. Lizzie must now be a Lady's companion, after living her entire life of more affluent means, and has problems with not speaking her mind, much to Lady Parry's dismay. Lizzie and Benjamin are both calm, thoughtful and resourceful characters. The mystery was a good one, and solved very much as a crime would have been solved in that time period.

The mystery surrounding the former companion points out the moral judgements and flaws of the times-that more condemnation is placed on the female victim than her cold hearted murderer, just because she was naive and trusting.

A good solid Victorian mystery-4 stars.


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