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Foul Trade: a haunting mystery that will keep you hooked (May Keaps Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Having read the novella that introduced us to May Keaps, I pre ordered Foul Trade straight away.
May is such an interesting character to read about and faces every situation with a sense of level headiness, even if she isn't feeling so calm inside.
BK Duncan brought to life the era, hardships and unsavoury characters realistically well. By brining this to be a darker novel, than I expected, even with the blurb.
May works methodically and fairly and I for one was watching out for her, hoping she made it to the end of the book as unscathed as possible.
This book is not one to be devoured, there is so much wonderful literature on every page, you need to read, digest, breathe as it is a stunningly impressive novel, that is thought provoking, and plenty of mystery that gripped me and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through May's eyes.
Faced with the inquest into the death of a dancer by suspected overdose of cocaine, May cannot quite buy that this is a simple suicide and wants to know more. She is determined to uncover the truth about who is supplying the drugs, a quest which will see her come face to face with the charismatic Chinese entrepreneur, Brilliant Chang. When a young businessman is found beaten to death down on the docks, with further suspected links to the drugs trade, May takes it upon herself to conduct an investigation, helped in part by reported Jack Cahill, an investigation which places her in grave danger. How far she will go to find the truth is something you will need to read to find out, but needless to say that it is quite an action packed investigation.
I really liked the character of May Keaps. She is strong and determined, but also very much a young woman in a very difficult and masculine profession. She has been the main carer for her younger sister Alice who is now striving to find her place in the world, and it is clear that May would do anything to protect her. Alice is equally as headstrong as her sister, but where May had the war and her time spent working on the ambulances in France to level her head, Alice's mind is still full of fancy. I really liked both of the young women, but can see that May has her hands full in keeping Alice on the straight and narrow, something which becomes all to apparent in this book. BUt really it is ay's tenacity which makes this book so interesting. No matter the knocks, she gets back up and presses onward, and yet there is something very human and vulnerable about her. I could not help but root for her.
Author BK Duncan has done a really great job of recreating both the setting and the era in this novel. A lot of the action takes place in and around the docks, as well as some back street drug houses and gambling dens, and I could easily picture the scene as I read through the book. In terms of creating the feeling of the 1920's, the sensibilities, the authentic tone of Alice and her language, as well as the formality of the Coroner's and the natural courtesy of Brilliant Chang, all rang true. I am no expert on the era by a long chalk but it really fit the narrative and I felt like I was back there, experiencing the life on the streets and the docks. Even the vaudeville-esque feeling of the variety act felt real.
Despite this being set in the 1920's, there was not lack of tension or action throughout the book, with May and Jack finding themselves in trouble on more than one occasion. Each time you feel like May should err on the side of caution and pass the investigation to the Police, but there would be no fun in that now would there? Each scrape she gets herself into sees the danger level's rising. But just how far and how deadly these quests may be you'll have to read for yourself.
I've really enjoyed this first full length foray into the world of May Keaps and look forward to seeing what our intrepid heroine gets herself into next. With her propensity for finding trouble at every turn, you know it's going to be a whole lot of fun.
I was provided an advance copy of the book by the publisher for review
We meet May again in 1920. She is no longer an ambulance driver, but the Poplar Coroner's Officer and a very efficient one at that. She is very used to sourcing information relevant to their inquests, but finds herself in significant danger whilst trying to get to the bottom of one particular death. She is sure there is more to it than first appears and she's determined to prove it. She doesn't have only herself to worry about though. She has her sister, Alice, to think of too since they only have each other now. Will her determination prove fatal?
May's investigation makes for interesting reading set in a time without forensics and mobile communications etc. A simpler time maybe, but not necessarily safer.
A great read for mystery/historical crime fans and one I am more than happy to recommend.
I read and review a lot of historical fiction and books of this period and I jumped at the chance to get a copy of the book and I wasn't disappointed at all - I read the novella that introduces us to May (The Last Post) a few weeks back and thought that she was a really intriguing character and definitely someone I wanted to read more about and this book is a treat in that regard - I cannot wait for other releases in the series!
The plot in this book is great, it is clearly well very researched and reading it makes you feel as though you are there with them, the descriptions of what it was like in 1920s London is superb and for that alone I would have given the book 5 stars!
The plot is brilliant, characters are genuine and believable, to be honest I couldn't give the book anything other than 5 stars - I really, really enjoyed it and very highly recommend it!!
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The author transports you back in time and you really get a feel of what life was like in that era.Read more