This clever book set in Victorian London is told from various points of view, which is one of the factors that make it such an interesting read. The main story centres on a series of grisly murders that have been occurring in the pea-soup fog of the more dingy London boroughs. The police are searching for a depraved killer who mutilates their victims, and feel that it may be influenced by a satanic cult. But not only do we get swept away with the investigation and descriptions of blood and gore, but are also cleverly transported to other perspectives of London, from the garish lights-and-powder of the music hall, to the British Library where real-life characters such as Karl Marx and George Gissing study. In fact, these historical characters are suspected by the police, as is Dan Leno, the Victorian music act who is mentioned in the title. It can in fact be read with regards to various post-modern references, and many will follow the narrative with a knowing smile, but it is equally accessible for those just wanting a bit of historical suspense. It perfectly blends the atmospheric setting with fabulous fiction that drives the narrative, and although you may suspect a twist, it is still a great read that can be swept through in a couple of enjoyable afternoons.
Becky Milford (Wed 20th Jul 2011)