The Gower St Detective: The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
Book Review by Arnavi Narnaware
Set in the lavish yet poverty-stricken streets of London in 1882, this is the first of Ms. Middleton and Mr. Grice’s extraordinary cases. March Middleton’s enticing narrations give the reader a taste of how life was back then, when there was no technology to solve cases and people relied on intelligence, wit and cold hard evidence.
March is an intelligent young woman in her early twenties. She has a kind nature and she lives her life independently and freely. With her quick wit and bold nature, she knows how to get around tough situations. Look closely, and you will see that she is mysteriously different than most women, and there is more to her than meets the eye. After her father dies, March decides to accept her godfather’s offer to live with him. She has a buried dark past that is yet to be uncovered, therefore he is unfamiliar to her and he may even be dangerous. With no family left and the determination to find out more about herself, she moves from her little house in Dorset to her godfather's mansion in London. Sidney Grice is a renowned personal detective with a very long experienced past. He is well-known for his ability to catch criminals and solve cases, all well as his rude nature and eye for money. He lives alone with only a young and slightly oddball maid (Molly) and a cook (Cook) who barely comes out of the kitchen. Regardless of his grumpy character, many people respect him, for he is a miracle of a man and he has a unique way of seeing EVERYTHING in the world. He can read people like books, pointing out even the tiniest detail, careless of how good or bad it is. He is the number one detective you would go to if you wanted justice, and you would be ready to pay him any price because that’s just how good he is. Even with his arrogance and the consistent insults that he throws like bricks, he will never fail to WOW anyone he meets. Soon March arrives, and everything is turned topsy-turvy. Right away, Grice points out her smoking and gin-drinking habits, which he disapproves of. He takes one glance at her boots, and he narrates her life-style to her, obviously bored by the easiness of it. But, unlike others, she is not impressed and able to retort cleverly to her godfather’s shrewd remarks. Of course, this does not stop Sidney Grice from being irritated, but the two make a unique combination that is sure to amuse anyone who looks in on their relationship. Not long after March arrives, Grice is presented his next case. Grace Dillinger, an attractive older widow, shows up at his house in desperation. Her son-in-law, William Ashby, has been accused of murdering his wife, Sarah Ashby, in the small house that they shared. Grace believes with all her heart that William is innocent, and begs Sidney Grice to look into the case. Grice listens coolly, and after ignoring the widow’s frightened pleas, he names his price. When he finds out that she has nothing to offer him, he dismisses her. Business is business right? Nope, not when it comes to March Middleton. Irritated by the ego of her new guardian, March feels for Grace and she insists that she pay the fee, but on one condition - she can help out on the case too. Grice declines right away, but after a lengthy argument, he finally compromises. Sidney Grice and March Middleton, detective and ward, set out to solve this bizarre and brutal murder case. New characters and possible suspects are introduced. Clues pop up everywhere. Shocking secrets are discovered. Finally, all the puzzle pieces are assembled and the ghastly truth is revealed at the end. In this book, one thing is for sure - you will never see it coming!
This may be obvious by now, but I seriously, seriously love this book. I couldn’t help but write a biased summary. My favorite character is Sidney Grice, the detective with an impossibly large ego. He is a rare individual, and honestly I think he’s a cool dude. There were countless times when I marveled at his skill and laughed at his insults. It’s a 5/5 from me, and I recommend you read it too! This book is perfect for people who like mystery and secrets; it is a mystery/realistic fiction series for young adults but parts of the book involve romance, adventure, comedy and other interesting subjects. One thing that may bother some readers is the detail that is put into it. Details are a great spect of this book, but sometimes the scenes that are described are gory. Those parts may not be your favorites, but other than that, it is a very addicting book. If you read it and like it as much as I do, you should check out the rest of the books in the series too!