Four Thousand Days

Severn House. (Margaret Murray, Bk. 1). Feb. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9781780291345. $28.99. M
Trow’s (“Kit Marlowe Tudor” series) first Margaret Murray mystery introduces Murray, a real-life British Egyptologist and archaeologist (1863–1963), and a cast of other intriguing historical figures in Victorian England, such as Rudyard Kipling and Metropolitan Police Inspector Edmund Reid. In October 1900, Constable Adam Crawford recognizes the dead woman he finds in her apartment, but he knew her not as a sex worker (as Detective Inspector Athlegar Blunt claims) but as a woman who attended the public archaeology lectures every Friday at University College, London. Crawford believes she was murdered, although Blunt calls it suicide. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, Crawford asks for help from archaeologist Murray, a junior lecturer at the college (referred to by a student as “the cleverest person I know”). Clues lead Murray to a seaside resort where she meets now-retired Scotland Yard inspector Reid. After a dune collapses on him, revealing the corpse of another female archaeologist, Reid joins the small group looking for a killer. The fast-paced story uncovers a long-buried historical mystery so important that someone has killed multiple times to keep it quiet and won’t hesitate to kill a clever amateur sleuth.
VERDICT An excellent novel exploring the roles of women in Victorian England, recommended for fans of Bradley Harper’s A Knife in the Fog and other mysteries set in the same era.
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