Isabella Gordon is set on blackmailing someone. When she is found dead in the Thames, Inspector Fields, Charles Dickens, and Wilkie Collins come to view the body. When Dickens recognizes the girl as a former pupil at Urania Cottage (Dickens’ scheme for the education and retraining of women who would then immigrate to Australia in hopes of a new life) he is determined that the killer will be brought to justice.
I found the idea of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins working together to solve a murder appealing. The characters of, and the relationship between, Dickens and Collins was very well written. Charles Dickens alternates between acerbic and thoughtful, pompous and restrained. He is at times, hard to like but always fascinating. Wilkie Collins was intelligent, likeable and self-effacing. His interactions with Dickens and his understanding of his quirks and shortcomings made him very engaging.
The story started out well but slows down quickly. The unspoken dialogue of the characters was often disjointed and distracting. This, at times, made the story difficult to follow.
Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishers for the advance reader copy made available for my review.