Death Makes No Distinction: A Dan Foster Mystery
Two women at opposite ends of the social scale, both brutally murdered.
Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is surprised when his old rival John Townsend requests his help to investigate the murder of Louise Parmeter, a beautiful writer who once shared the bed of the Prince of Wales. Her jewellery is missing, savagely torn from her body. Her memoirs, which threaten to expose the indiscretions of the great and the good, are also missing.
Frustrated by the chief magistrate’s demand that he drop the investigation into the death of the unknown beggar woman, found savagely raped and beaten and left to die in the outhouse of a Holborn tavern, Dan is determined to get to the bottom of both murders. But as his enquiries take him into both the richest and the foulest places in London, and Townsend’s real reason for requesting his help gradually becomes clear, Dan is forced to face a shocking new reality when the people he loves are targeted by a shadowy and merciless adversary.
The investigation has suddenly got personal.
Thanks to Rachel for organising this blog tour and to the author for my copy of this book. I have never read any of the author’s books before but I shall have to add them to my list, based on reading this third novel.
There is the main plot – Louise Parmeter is a former courtesan who has been murdered and her diamonds stolen from her dead body. She was a former lover of Prinny, the ‘blue tub on a pink sofa’ later known as King George IV, so her murder is important. Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners in brought in by Principal Officer Townsend, who is Prinny’s guard, to help with the case. Townsend has his own mischievous and malicious reasons for getting Dan involved. Dan is a great boxer and Prinny wants to see him fight. Dan has more important things to do and is thoroughly unimpressed by the beau monde.
There’s another murder. A poor woman found dead in an inn’s back yard. Everyone assumes she’s a whore although the local madam insists she isn’t one of her girls. Dan finds a strange mark on her face from the boot of the man who killed her.
Meanwhile, Dan is being followed by some strange, sickly man who targets his family.
While this is the third in a series and there are references to previous cases and past events, it’s easy to read this novel of early 19th century crime and social disharmony as a stand alone novel. The characters are engaging and complex and the main plot cracks along as Dan copes with a tempestuous wife, an irritating colleague and pompous superiors, to seek out the truth. The subplots add interest and complexity to the main plot. Is the man following Dan trying to stop him finding the killer? Did he kill the unknown woman?
The references to the anti-slave trade and women’s rights movements place it in an interesting period in time. The rich were complacent and arrogant, and everyone else was just trying to survive, and some wanted to change the world. Dan falls in with principled people from working and trades backgrounds, while the wealthy are pissing fortunes up the wall every night. Unlike his colleagues, he isn’t prepared to give them a free pass.
It was a dangerous and radical time, but most people only really hear about the wealthy and gentry classes. It”s great to see the gritty reality of the times brought so vividly to life.
If you like historical mysteries, I recommend this novel.
Author Bio –
Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. After gaining an MA in English Literature (with Distinction) with the Open University in 2007, specialising in eighteenth-century fiction, she published her first historical novel, To The Fair Land, in 2012, an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas.
Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016. The second Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, was published in 2017 and was awarded an IndieBrag Medallion in 2018. The third in the series, Death Makes No Distinction, was published in 2019. In 2017 an e-book Dan Foster novella, The Fatal Coin, was trade published by SBooks.
In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes, a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. In 2017 she published a collection of short essays, The Road to Representation: Essays on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign.
Contributions to other publications include:-
‘Not So Militant Browne’ in Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth (Stevenage Museum, 2019)
‘Victoria Lidiard’ in The Women Who Built Bristol, Jane Duffus (Tangent Books, 2018)
‘Tramgirls, Tommies and the Vote’ in Bristol and the First World War: The Great Reading Adventure 2014 (Bristol Cultural Development Partnership/Bristol Festival of Ideas, 2014)
Articles, interviews and reviews in various publications including Bristol Times, Clifton Life, The Local Historian, Historical Novels Review (Historical Novel Society), Nonesuch, Bristol 24/7, Bristol History Podcast, etc.
Lucienne has appeared on television and radio in connection with her fiction and non-fiction work. She regularly gives talks and leads walks about the women’s suffrage movement. She also gives talks and runs workshops on historical fiction for literary festivals, Women’s Institutes, local history societies, and other organisations. She has been a radio presenter on BCfm, and a course tutor.
In 2018 she was instrumental in devising and delivering Votes for Women 100, a programme of commemorative events by the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network in partnership with Bristol M Shed and others. She also campaigned and raised funds for a Blue Plaque for the Bristol and West of England Women’s Suffrage Society.
She is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network, and is also a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Society of Authors, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
She is currently working on the fourth full-length Dan Foster Mystery, and a biography of suffrage campaigner Millicent Browne.
Lucienne was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol.
Social Media Links –