Falsely charged of theft in 1768 London, thirteen-year-old Jeremy Proctor finds his only hope in Sir John Fielding, the founder of the Bow Street Runners police force, who recruits young Jeremy in his mission to fight crime. Reprint. K. NYT. PW.
Well, I have got to page 31 of Blind Justice (no mystery yet -- and the mystery just might save the book) and have been stalled by horrendous historical blunders. Tuppenny pieces? Please! Tuppence was two pennies -- two coins. It is like someone writing about 2002 and having two-cent coins. Muslin sheets? Oh dear. Muslin was a fine, porous cloth used like cheesecloth today. (He probably meant linen.) And "tallow candle." Oh, very, very dear -- what a shame. Tallow -- sheep fat, was the cheapest lighting fuel available at the time. It was poured into dishes when melted, a wick thrust into it, and it was used by the poor for illumination. Alexander meant spermaceti candles, perhaps ...
Well, to please my friend, I will read on. But I hope the plot is a lot better than the historical background.
Alexander writes well, unremarkably, in a manner which calls no stylistic attention to itself. His setting, though not exactly untrodden in fiction, comes agreeably to life.
In Blind Justice, the young orphan Jeremy Proctor comes to London after his father's tragic death in the pillory, and becomes a protege of the blind magistrate Sir John Fielding (based on a historical personage). Fielding is certainly an original and appealing character, and the author never forgets to work his blindness realistically into the story. Proctor becomes involved in helping Fielding solve the murder of one Lord Goodhope. The plot moves along pretty well, though there's a hackneyed "drawing-room" scene at the end. I like my historical fiction a little grittier than this somewhat "nice" portrayal, and Alexander has an unfortunate tendency to tell rather than show.
I found this reasonably entertaining and it's worth noting that the third in the series, Watery Grave (I haven't yet read the second installment) is an improvement.