The Innocents

Gallic (Variety Palace Mysteries, Bk. 2). Mar. 2024. 296p. ISBN 9781913547523. pap. $17.95. M
.n Walsh’s second Victorian England–set “Variety Palace” mystery, Albert Easterbrook asks Minnie Ward to be his partner as a consulting detective, but she demurs, as she’s busy managing the Variety Palace music hall and its debt and trying to keep the owner from spending money on zany ideas. And deep down, after the murder of her best friend, Minnie is frightened. But multiple cases finally draw her back into the investigation business: after a man’s death by asphyxiation in a locked trunk, his widow suspects murder and asks Minnie for help proving her right. Then the brother of an actor at the Variety vanishes, and a monkey is kidnapped from the music hall. There will be a few more deaths before Albert and Minnie discover that these murders are all connected to a tragedy at another music hall 14 years earlier, when 183 children perished at a Christmas pantomime. It seems that someone is out for revenge.
VERDICT The sequel to The Tumbling Girl is another entertaining, well-researched historical mystery, good for fans of Masterpiece Mystery’s Miss Scarlet and the Duke. As before, the working people behind the scenes at the music hall are the stars.
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