Death in the Valley of Shadows by Deryn Lake

I received an advance readers copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

It's always interesting when you pick up a book by an author you have never heard of. This was definitely the case with this murder mystery. I found out that there are a few more books about John Rawlings, the main character, already. I must also admit that I wasn't sure when I picked this up whether or not I would enjoy it as much as several of the other murder mysteries that I've read in the last 12 months or so. I was in for a really pleasant surprise.

The main character, as I have already mentioned, is John Rawlings. He is an apothecary in London, where he lives with his wife and the staff. The book starts off in an intriguing manner - a man enters his shop, seemingly terrified. He explains to John that he fears for his life and asks to see him privately to deliver some papers. And here, the story really begins.

Death comes knocking, not once, but several times in this gripping tale, based in the 19th century, based on what I could understand from the clues in the story. The setting, characters and stye f this novel are a great match. I especially liked John because he is quite curageous, although I didn't like that he put his hobby, basically, ahead of his family...even if he didn't enjoy doing so.

All in all, a lovely read, with a plot full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing all the way to the end. Go on, give it a try!

Star rating: 4 from 5: fiendishly good!