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The Companion Hardcover – June 12, 2007

Book 1 of 5 in the Inspector Ben Ross Series

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A Man's Word is the third book in The King's Hounds series but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story. See more featured historical mysteries

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British author Granger's picturesque but disappointing Victorian historical alternates point-of-view between independent-minded Elizabeth Martin and young Scotland Yard inspector Benjamin Ross, long-separated childhood friends whose paths coincidentally cross at a murder case. Lizzie, the impoverished daughter of a doctor, finds herself without resources after her father's death in 1864, and moves to London to serve as companion for the wealthy Mrs. Parry. Ross is investigating the brutal murder of a young woman, who turns out to have been Lizzie's employer's previous companion. Outraged that Mrs. Parry and her cronies blame the victim for her fate, Martin does some amateur sleuthing on her own, but the resolution turns on her endangerment—not her powers of deduction. Granger, the author of the long-running Fran Vardy cozy series and the Mitchell and Markby series, delivers persuasive period detail but commonplace plot and characters. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Seasoned mystery-author Granger introduces an atmospheric new series set in Victorian London. When Lizzie Martin accepts a position as a paid companion, she moves from rural Derbyshire to London. As she adapts to her new environment, she also finds herself being inextricably drawn into a murder investigation. The corpse, it seems, belongs to the girl Lizzie replaced as companion. Joining forces with an old friend from back home, Lizzie puts her own life in danger to unmask a murderer. Historical-mystery fans will appreciate the great attention Granger pays to period detail as she evokes a suitably gritty nineteenth-century London. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312363370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312363376
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,872,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith on September 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
This novel opens with Elizabeth (Lizzie) Martin arriving in London in 1864. The death of Lizzie's father has left her in straitened circumstances so when her late godfather's widow, Mrs Parry, invites her to London as her companion Lizzie accepts. Lizzie barely arrives in London before being caught up in a series of disturbing events: her cab from the railway station crosses paths with a cart transporting a dead body. Shortly after arriving at her employer's home, Lizzie learns that her predecessor departed suddenly in what seem to be suspicious circumstances.

Lizzie Martin is a likeable character whose amateur sleuthing is not in the least constrained by society's idea of what is acceptable behaviour for a young woman of her class. However improbable aspects of this story are, the journey makes for an interesting, page turning read. Who murdered Madeleine Hexham, and why? There are a number of suspects, some delightful red herrings and some interesting descriptions of a London deep in the throes of change.

Aspects are predictable, but somehow that adds to the general enjoyment of the story. This is the first in a series to feature Lizzie Martin. The second is `A Mortal Curiosity' and I've ordered it already. Ms Granger has a number of other novels to her credit, and I will also be looking to read those as time permits.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lyn Reese on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Lizzie Martin has just just arrived in London from Derbyshire to take up a new position as lady's companion. Almost immediately, she discovers that the murdered body she saw being carried from the site of the construction of the new St. Pancreas railway terminus, is that of her predecessor. While others accuse the woman of bringing her fate upon herself, Lizzie is soon persuaded that there's a deeper mystery. After finding disturbing facts in her new home, Lizzie becomes a secret source of information for Inspector Benjamin Ross, an intriguing man from her Derbyshire coalfields childhood. Part of the story is told from Ben's point of view.

The book's historical information is stronger than the plot, which needs a number of coincidences to reach a conclusion. Granger writes of a London in the process of being transformed above ground and below - via new under groundsewers and railways. The city's public places are noisy, dirty, and smoggy. On the streets, sellers of every item imaginable mingle with equally plentiful petty thieves. Deep class and gender expectations rigidly dictate one's life. Lizzie's outspokenness and intelligence are not admired by her employer and her incredibly insensitive and boorish friends. London's poor, who live in crowded squalor with the ever present danger of illnesses such as typhoid, diphtheria, and consumption, not surprisingly resist the authority of the police and refuse to come forth as witnesses. Granger also provides the reader with descriptions of the equally appalling lives of the pitmen and their children in the northern coal mines, and with facts about mining practices and laws.

First historical mystery for this prolific author of mystery series set in contemporary times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbarino on September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I love Kate Ross's 'Julian Kestrel' series and Ashley Gardner's 'Captain Lacey' series and I have been trying very hard to find another series that I will enjoy as much as I've enjoyed those two. So far, I'm still looking.

I thought this story started out well enough, with an interesting mystery and some good and gritty details on filth and rats and death, and even a mention of Bazalgette's sewer, which I enjoyed very much. The narration was smooth and easy, though I would have appreciated one narrator rather than two.

I thought we were building up to an interesting story with engaging characters and the potential to complete my quest for another series I could enjoy, when suddenly the story turned rather dull and predictable and left me wondering, how had I ever thought it could be in the running for the next favorite series.

I'm not quite sure what happened, I liked Lizzie Martin, the strong female protagonist, and her unsatisfying situation as a lady's companion to Julia Parry whose nephew Frank Carteron, lives with her. But at some point the story just fell flat and retreated to dull predictability. I'm glad that others have enjoyed this and I'm sorry that I did not. I'm still searching for another favorite series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Indian Prairie Public Library on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Set in Victorian London, we meet Lizzie Martin, an impoverished young woman who takes a job as companion to Mrs. Parry, her godfather's widow. Lizzie is 30, outspoken and curious enough to get involved in the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Parry's previous companion. Crossing her path in this investigation is a childhood friend of Lizzie's who just happens to be the police inspector from the Scotland Yard, Ben Ross.The pair encounters the dead girl's body, runs afoul of an unsavory pastor, a foreign service worker, a hen-pecked son and some hard nose laborers. But they manage, with the aid of a cabdriver and a downstairs maid, to solve the mysterious death and disappearance of the girl. If you enjoy reading about Victorian London, this novel will please you.
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