Murder – Mayhem #2 – Sarah Pinborough

19050115Release date: May 1st, 2014
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 326
Format: Hardcover
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Dr. Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, is still recovering from the event of the previous year when Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of London – and a more malign enemy hid in his shadow. Bond and the others who worked on the gruesome case are still stalked by its legacies, both psychological and tangible.

But now the bodies of children are being pulled from the Thames… and Bond is about to become inextricably linked with an uncanny, undying enemy.


‘Murder’ is the sequel to ‘Mayhem’, a dark detective story with a tinge of the fantastic that I devoured last year. In ‘Mayhem’ we followed Dr Bond, a police surgeon who helped investigate the murders on numerous women in the 1880’s. Some of those are the famous Jack the Ripper cases, but the focus of ‘Mayhem’ was more on the less known Thames Torso murders. We learned throughout the book that there was more than met the eye about these murders and that there may have been something supernatural at work there. In ‘Murder’ some time has passed and we return to London and a happy Dr Thomas Bond.

Dr Bond has picked up the pieces of his life after the horrible years where the Upir caused mayhem in London. Jack the Ripper has stopped his reign of terror, but hasn’t been caught and we all know the Torso killer will never murder again. Bond has sworn off the Opium and is deeply in love with James Harrington’s widow, Juliana. His future looks bright and basking in this new found happiness, he now even begins to doubt the very existence of something like the Upir. Wasn’t it all an explanation his drug addled mind gave to James’ murderous behaviour?
His peaceful future is shattered however when Edward Kane, an American friend of Harrington’s, arrives in London. James had been writing letters to his friend, hinting at the burden he was bearing and the fear that he’s doing horrible things during his blackouts. Kane has only recently found these letters and now he wants answers.
The letters are just the start of a cascade of new revelations and news that drag Bond back into the chaos of those days. Along the way Bond starts to question everything in his life: his friends, his chances with Juliana and the fact that the Upir might be real after all.

‘Murder’ is yet again a very dark book. Certainly towards the end of the book, where the story gets very horrid and depressing. I had to put the book aside sometimes to take a breather, because it was really getting to me. This is a testament to Pinborough’s highly immersive writing style that pulls you in to the story completely. It’s easy to get lost in this book, but with the very heavy content and themes, it did weigh on me at times. I’m always stunned that an author can make me feel that much by telling me a story, I envy the talent of for example Pinborough to really make a story come to life like this.

There are a number of unsolved murder cases who play a role throughout the story, from the elusive Jack the Ripper, to a new child murderer. The info about these murders are, as they were in Mayhem, told to us through newspaper articles, testimonies and reports. Aaron Kosminski also makes an appearance, first only through psychiatric reports, later through dreams and visions we know he’s prone to having. These visions sometimes give us the details that are missing from Bond’s point of view, shedding some light on certain circumstances that had us doubting before. All these murder cases seem to tie together perfectly in the end. Coincidence, or not?

Another very enjoyable read, further exploring the tragic life of Dr Thomas Bond and the numerous murder cases in Victorian England. The last page gives us a tantalising taste of more, hinting that the story isn’t finished yet. I wonder where this will lead.

I am very interested in history and certainly in mysterious parts of our history. After reading ‘Mayhem’ I’d already done some research on the Thames Torso murders and Jack the Ripper and found that most of the information and names used in the book were real. Pinborough took a mysterious part of history and gave it her own explanation. I absolutely love this! After reading ‘Murder’, I couldn’t help myself and I did some more research, particularly about Dr Thomas Bond and the child murders mentioned in the book and found that yet again she used big parts of Bond’s real story and gave it that bit extra, that bit of the fantastical to explain it all. If you are like me and you enjoyed reading these books, I’d really suggest to look in to the history behind it.


Posted on November 10, 2014, in Sarah Pinborough and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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