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The Streets of Babylon: A London Mystery Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714531383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714531380
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,552,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carina Burman is a professor at Uppsala University, and she has written extensively on 18th and 19th century literature. The Streets of Babylon: A London Mystery is her fifth novel. She wrote a well known biography of Swedish writer, Fredrika Bremer. Her field of expertise is pastiche and capturing the atmosphere of days gone by. Sarah Death is editor of Swedish Book News and a previous winner of the Bernard Shaw Prize for Swedish translation. She is recognized as one of the foremost Scandinavian translators of fiction.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
In 1851, fortyish Swedish authoress Euthanasia Bondeson accompanied by her young niece Agnes Bjork completes her research in Paris for her next writing. The two females cross the Channel to London where they plan to attend the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. The English police gentlemen help the two ladies make it to the Golden Cross Hotel

The next morning after settling for insipid tea instead of coffee for breakfast, the Swedish pair goes to the exhibit. Outside is mobbed and they separate with Euthanasia telling Agnes to wait for her inside. When Euthanasia enters, her niece is not there. She searches everywhere, but cannot find her niece. She tells the police and cop Owain Evans investigates with Euthanasia at his side.

The vivid picturesque Victorian London will have readers believe they are there exploring the Great Exhibition and much more as THE STREETS OF BABYLON is an excellent historical mystery that makes the time and place seem so alive. The story line is brisk with a fabulous superstar as Euthanasia takes charge of the plot in skirts and pants (undercover as a male going where no respectable female has gone before except incognito). Carina Burman provides an exhilarating mid nineteenth century kidnapped thriller with Sarah Death's translation from Swedish to English remarkable.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shana Schmadeke on August 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Streets of Babylon was my first Victorian mystery. I certainly noticed a strong Victorian aura to this novel, and thought it was an extremely well-written introduction to the genre. Carina Burman has done extensive doctoral research in 18th and 19th century literature and that expertise shows through in this, her fifth novel.

Euthanasia Bondeson was an interesting character. An authoress and woman of independent means in an era where both were rare, she was strong-willed and audacious, often saying the wrong thing, or at best, too much and defying the Victorian strictures of the society in which she moved. She sees everything through the writer's eye, and I felt great affinity for her when she said, '...whenever I have experienced anything, it does not become real for me until I have written it down, or at least spoken of it.'

The plot was interesting and well-paced. I was not sure who had kidnapped Euthanasia's traveling companion Agnes until the author revealed the perpetrator's identity. Likewise, I found myself wondering along with Euthanasia if Agnes was dead or alive.

There was also a romance element that kept me guessing. Euthanasia proclaimed, 'Men do not interest me greatly, and I have never regretted remaining single ...' but there were three attractive male characters in the book with whom the adventurous heroine did her fair share of chaste Victorian flirting. I found myself wondering if she would end up falling in love and into a romantic relationship after all.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that Euthanasia, though accepted into London's high society due to her stature as a world-famous author, preferred to explore the slums of the city and displayed a genuine concern for the underprivileged citizens she encountered there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader VINE VOICE on August 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Euthanasia Bondeson is a Swedish author enticed to visit England by the spectacle known as the 1851 Great Exhibition, at least until her companion, Agnes, goes missing. Euthanasia is by no means a detective, but she teams up with inspector Owain Evans to find her friend before it's too late.

I found this book highly amusing, which I'm not sure I'm supposed to feel in a mystery. I'm not sure - mysteries aren't my genre, although historical fiction is. It wasn't harrowing at all, probably thanks to Euthanasia's infectious way of shrugging off the worst of things until going off into the thick of them. She does her share of spying and dressing up as a man to get into the seedy London underworld in an attempt to put the pieces together and find her missing friend. There are a lot of pieces, as numerous crimes are going on at the same time! In addition, the London underworld is depicted in some detail, which is definitely something that I enjoyed, and it's easy to see why its denizens would shrug off the appearance of a woman dressed as a man.

Sometimes the wording in this novel is a bit awkward, but I think that's due to the translation. The characters are all viewed through Euthanasia's sometimes rose-colored glasses, particularly her favorite, Professor Devindra (who has a very long last name that I keep thinking is that of one of my professors). I think what this mystery best succeeds at is making a character out of Euthanasia. It's entirely her tale, and she may not be entirely realistic, but she's great company. As a minor note, I also love the way the chapter headings start with "In which". It just helps to give the whole book a quirky feel.
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Format: Paperback
1851, London, England - a land of pimps, mollies, and waifs. "The Streets of Babylon: A London Mystery" is the story of a few people's attempts to dig their way through the hordes of ne'er-do-wells that infest the London underworld as they search for Agnes, someone they fear may already be dead. A deftly composed crime drama set in a grimy yet intriguing setting, "The Streets of Babylon" is a top pick for any looking for a good mystery.
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