by Cindy Spencer Pape
London, 1850. Residents must wear masks to protect themselves from the coal smoke that hangs heavily in the air. A product of the devotion to all things steam.
It is a cold and bitter night. Police Inspector Sebastian Brown is disturbed by a woman collapsing on his door step. Searching for a doctor who lives near to Sebastian, she has crossed London without a mask, 'tantamount to a death sentence,' braving the frost and fog, and the possibility of vampyres or cutthroats.'
Her daughter is deathly ill. Sebastian accompanies the woman, Minerva (Minnie) Shaw, to fetch her daughter, Ivy.
What they find is a murdered friend, a room indicating chaotic search, and a missing sick child.
Murders and a mysterious illness that has the patient sweating a black soot are just the beginning.
The black soot residue appears to be a bacteria capable of taking soot out of the body. In this London those who can, wear masks to prevent sure death. Children are being experimented on in the name of science!
Liam takes an interest and calls in his wife Wink, 'a scientific genius', to use her expertise.
It becomes clear that this, in more ways than one, is a case for the Knights of the Order (of the Round Table) to investigate.
Sebastian has some power. For one, he can tell when people are lying. A useful talent in his profession. He takes Minerva and her daughter Ivy into his home and heart. It seems that Ivy is more than most would guess.
A delightful novella that highlights a secondary character in the series. A worthy addition to Gaslight Chronicles.
A NetGalley ARC