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Dr. Mortimer and the Aldgate Mystery Hardcover – August 22, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

You don't have to be a Sherlock Holmes fan to enjoy this absorbing debut novel about Dr. James Mortimer, of The Hound of the Baskervilles fame, and the start of his career as a crime-solver. After the death of his wife, the bereaved Mortimer considers devoting the rest of his days to his hobby of archeology, but his friend Dr. Watson persuades him to take a position as a substitute physician instead. One of Mortimer's first patients is the beautiful, high-strung Lavinia Nancarrow, the ward of a wealthy merchant and former India nabob who's been holding her essentially captive in his home in Aldgate. After joining the staff of Dr. Violet Branscombe's clinic for abused women in Whitechapel, Mortimer and his new colleague team up to investigate the mystery of Lavinia's confinement. In what turns out to be an intriguing case of murder and romance, Williams brings London's East End and India under the Raj vividly to life, while nicely dramatizing the condition of women of different classes in the late Victorian era. A translator by profession, Williams is particularly good at language and his narrative is peppered (but not overseasoned) with obscure and obsolete words (e.g., armigerous, mofussil, larrikin) that should send those who like to expand their vocabularies to their (unabridged) dictionaries. Too many Holmes pastiches or spinoffs fail to do full justice to Conan Doyle's original creation; this is a rare and honorable exception, sure to delight historical mystery readers as well.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1890 London, Dr. James Mortimer (a friend of Sherlock Holmes's Dr. Watson), recovering from the death of his first wife, encounters a beautiful young woman kept close under lock and key by a zealously overprotective guardian. The one man allowed to visit, an art tutor, is suspected of nefarious degeneracies by a female doctor who runs a clinic in the neighborhood. She and Mortimer proceed to determine why the woman is guarded and whether the artist is really a pimp on the prowl. Dangerous situations and murder ensue. First novelist Williams succeeds admirably in re-creating Victorian London, both in character and setting. Fans of Anne Perry and other Victorian mysteries will enjoy. Strongly recommended.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st U.S. ed edition (August 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031226920X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312269203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,643,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In 1890 Dr. James Mortimer is unable to continue practicing medicine following the death of his wife due to diphtheria so he sells his practice. At the urgings of his friend, Dr. John Watson, James moves to London and joins the medical practice of Dr. Ferraby as an associate so as too not dwell on his loss.
James' first patient is Lavinia Nancarrow who seems to be a virtual prisoner of her guardian, Archibald Boynton-Leigh. Unable to resist the urge to find out about this unusual arrangement, James begins to investigate what hold Archibald has on the charming Lavinia. However, unlike his good friends Holmes and Watson, sleuthing is a relatively new game for the doctor, who is not prepared for the impossible murder that he feels obligated to solve.
DR. MORTIMER AND THE ALDGATE MYSTERY is a wonderful Victorian mystery that brings to life a more ominous and creepy side of London. The story line is very entertaining and the brief appearance of Watson should thrill the Holmes crowd. The mystery is clever, but Mortimer, whose first starring role is a smashing success (see HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES for a secondary role), will bring accolades to Gerald Williams.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karen D. Stevens on December 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As readers of the Canon will recall, Dr. Mortimer brought Sherlock Holmes one of his greatest challenges, the case of The Hound of the Baskervilles. In the Aldate Mystery, Mortimer fills in as locum for a London physician. One of his new patients is Lavinia Nancarrow, a mysterious young woman who is kept a virtual prisoner in her room. Dr. Mortimer and his friend Dr. Violet Branscombe discover that Lavinia's past holds a dreadful secret, one that an old family tutor will do anythng to learn--even commit murder. When Lavinia vanishes and the tutor is found dead in Lavinia's bedroom, the doctors fear for her safety. Will they be able to find her in time to save her from a charge of murder?
Well-written and nicely paced, this book brings the much-loved London of shifting fogs and hansom cabs to life once again!
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