MYSTERY

To the Dark

Severn House. (Simon Westow, Bk. 3). Mar. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780727892454. $28.99. M
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When the snow melts in the dirty factory town of Leeds, England, in February 1823, the body of a thief, Laurence Poole, is found near the mill. Thief-taker Simon Westow fears Constable Williams will accuse him of killing Poole because Williams hates Simon for recovering stolen goods and getting paid when the constable fails at it. Simon and his assistant, a young woman of the streets named Jane, search Poole’s house, finding nothing worthwhile. Then, Williams shocks Simon by hiring him to find Poole’s killer. Simon learns Poole had two invaluable artifacts, a silver milk jug and a beautiful Book of Hours, and he was involved in a scheme with two military men used to killing. While Simon hunts the killer, Jane, used to being invisible in the streets, is hunted by a young waif who appears silently, and a violent man whom Jane once attacked. Simon and Jane must protect the people they love before finding justice for Poole.
VERDICT The third “Simon Westow” mystery, following The House Girl, is for readers who appreciate realistic historical atmosphere and details of the sometimes grim life in a 19th-century factory town. Fans of Jeri Westerson’s “Crispin Guest” series will appreciate the mystery and ambiance.

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