Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publication: October 20, 2020 by The Conrad Press
Synopsis: Murder, conspiracy, radicalism, poverty, riot, violence, capitalism, technology: everything is up for grabs in the early part of Victoria’s reign. Radical politicians, constitutional activists and trade unionists are being professionally assassinated. When Josiah Ainscough of the Stockport Police thwarts an attempt on the life of the Chartist leader, Feargus O’Connor, he receives public praise, but earns the enmity of the assassin, who vows to kill him. ‘Circles of Deceit’, the second of Paul CW Beatty’s Constable Josiah Ainscough’s historical murder mysteries, gives a superb and electric picture of what it was to live in 1840s England. The novel is set in one of the most turbulent political periods in British history, 1842-1843, when liberties and constitutional change were at the top of the political agenda, pursued using methods fair or foul.
I’ve been wanting to read more historical fiction. Most of what I’ve read has been World War II romance, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for anything that’s from a different point in history. When I received the email from Rachel’s Random Resources, I was immediately drawn in by the cover, then the synopsis. This was definitely one of the most interesting historical fiction novels I’ve read, and I loved that romance wasn’t the main focus. I also really liked Paul’s writing style, as it was informative and entertaining.
It took me a few chapters to properly get into this one, but once I was invested, I couldn’t put it down. I was a bit lost at times, as I barely know anything about the time period, but I did learn a few interesting things. It was pretty informative, so even if you don’t know much, you still may really enjoy the book. I would say that if you have any knowledge of the era, you’ll absolutely enjoy the book a bit more than if you go into it blindly.
I really liked the characters and the development. This is the second book in the Josiah Ainscough mysteries, but you still get a pretty decent understanding of Josiah. I personally would like to read this again after reading the first book, just to see if there’s more to Josiah than shown in this book, but it isn’t necessary.
There’s a second storyline about Rosemary and Ned, which was interesting, but I’m still not entirely sure what it was supposed to add to the story. I actually really liked the ending of the main plotline, and if Paul ends up writing another book, I’ll absolutely be getting it as soon as I can.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Rachel‘s Random Resources. This did not influence my opinion in any way.
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Meet the Author
Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.
His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd.
Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.