Tony Evans ~ The Return of Hester Lynton
Hester Lynton is a consulting detective inhabiting the world of late Victorian London. Aided by her trusty sidekick (and chronicler of the stories) Ivy Jessop, she uses her exceptional powers of deduction and quick wits to crack the cases that no one else can. In this collection of ten short stories, she tackles a range of challenges; from solving puzzles in order to locate a hidden inheritance, through to battling foreign agents for possession information that could put the country in peril.
If Hester Lynton reminds you of anyone, it is not surprising – the parallels with Sherlock Holmes are easy to see – the job, the city, the time period, the narrator-assistant. She even has her own version of Mrs Hudson in the form of Mrs Parsons. The writing style is also Conan Doyle-esque. About the only differences are the fact that Hester prefers a cigarette holder to a pipe, and she tends to ejaculate a lot less than Holmes.
There is something quaint and cosy about the stories; the late Victorian setting – with its dashes through the streets in hansom cabs and social class distinctions – is different enough to feel exotic, yet recognisable enough to feel familiar and nostalgic. Like Conan Doyle’s books, the image of Victorian London is a very family-friendly one; even when the villains are menacing, they are polite and restrained, and you never really fear for the hero’s safety. This is certainly not the most gritty and brutal vision of Victorian London you will find.
The stories are easy to read, and while the plot twists are reasonably predictable, they are clever enough to keep you entertained and intrigued. I enjoyed all the stories, and if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan or have a fondness for light and easy-to-read detective stories, I deduce that you will like The Return of Hester Lynton.
Note: This is not the first collection of Hester Lynton stories to be published, but as each story is stand-alone, there would be no issue with reading these first.
I was provided with an advanced eBook version of this book by Random Things Tours. Opinions my own.