The Prince and the Whitechapel Murders

Written by Saul David

Review written by Stephen Thornley

An avid reader, Stephen's knowledge of Crime Fiction is fairly extensive, with The Golden Age is his greatest interest.


The Prince and the Whitechapel Murders
Hodder & Stoughton
RRP: £18.99
Released: February 22 2018
HBK

The Summer of 1888 and London’s East End is seething with plots against the state. Irish republicans are committing outrages against the Government with assassinations and bombings. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Force is being tested by the brutal murders of prostitutes in Whitechapel.

Mr David’s hero Major George Hart VC has just returned from Gibraltar. He is a man of many talents having seen service in South Africa, Afghanistan, Egypt & the Sudan, so he has the military experience of many men twice his age. He is as brave as he is smart.

On his return to England he is given an unusual assignment for a fighting man, he must act as bodyguard to a prince. Prince Albert Victor a playboy son of the Prince of Wales must be protected from terrorist attack and from sexual misadventure. But, before he begins Hart is also asked to go undercover for the Special Irish Branch to help create a trap to foil a plot by the Fenians (Irish Republicans) to assassinate a royal.

Hart’s involvement with the Prince soon cause him to realise that the murders in Whitechapel are closer to the Prince than anyone could have suspected. Is the Prince involved in these horrendous crimes or is someone (a close friend maybe), trying to implicate him? To find the answer Hart must try to solve the murders.

In the filthy, often fog bound, foul smelling dark streets and alleys of Whitechapel a killer is on the loose. Whitechapel’s streets are full of back-to-back housing. Pollution from coal fired industry, railways and domestic heating creates deadly smogs and lack of sanitation means sewage in the streets and yards. Disease is rife and the people are poor. Women are particularly hard hit with no work or state to support them many are driven to prostitution. In this environment a clever criminal can find many easy victims and plenty of cover.

Hart must use his intelligence, experience and diplomacy to carry out his investigations. But, he cannot let them interfere with his official duties or draw criticism from the investigating police for either could put him in danger from Senior figures who could ruin his career. This fast paced plot allows little time to catch your breath as Hart pursues the killer. The writing is tight and punchy getting across the energy and essential essence of the hero George Hart VC.



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