Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Diabolical Miss Hyde - Viola Carr

The Diabolical Miss Hyde
Viola Carr
Harper Voyager, Feb 10 2015, $16.99
ISBN: 9780062363084

In Victorian London, Lizzie Hyde detests hiding in the shadows while her Eliza Jekyll works the homicide crime scene with hoity-toity Inspector Harley Griffin.  The late Dr. Henry Jekyll’s daughter is a chip off the old block; as a forensic practitioner of legal medicine investigating serial killing and other horrific cases, and having a feral inner “partner” Lizzie share her body.

Eliza examines a dead victim whose limbs are nowhere in sight.  She concludes the lunatic used a bayonet to commit the murder and a saw to remove the body parts; in other words the maniac planned the kill in great detail and precision.  The “Chopper” leaves behind more corpses minus body parts.  Captain Remy Lafayette of the Royal Society joins the duet on their search for the Chopper, but Eliza, knowing he hunts the “unspeakable” like the Fae who have gone aground, fears he has a hidden agenda re her alter ego.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde is a rousing steampunk police procedural starring a lead who engages the reader in both her personas.  The opening crime scene investigation sets the tone as Eliza diligently does her job while Lizzie with her asides yearns to be in charge.  Although there is a lack of depth to aspects of Viola Carr’s London such as not enough on the unspeakable and the royal government censorship of magic and science, the first Electric Empire whodunit is a terrific Strange Case of Miss. Jekyll and Miss Hyde.

Harriet Klausner

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