The Man in Black

London, 1850. Fog in the air and filth in the streets, from the rat-infested graveyard of Tom-All-Alone’s to the elegant chambers in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, where the lawyer Edward Tulkinghorn has powerful clients to protect, and a deadly secret he will stop at nothing to conceal. Only that secret is now under threat from an unseen adversary – one who must be tracked down at all costs, before it’s too late.

Who better for such a task than Charles Maddox? Unfairly dismissed from the Metropolitan Police, Charles is struggling to establish himself as a private detective.  Only business is slow and his one case a dead end, so when Tulkinghorn offers a handsome price for an apparently simple job Charles is unable to resist.  But nothing, as he soon finds out, is what it seems…

Inspired by Charles Dickens’  Bleak House, The Man in Black is a gripping murder mystery set in a London underworld Dickens could only hint at – a world where girls of ten work as prostitutes, unwanted babies are disposed of, and those who pose a threat to great men are eliminated without remorse.

A crime book of the year for 2012 for The Spectator, and the Sunday Express

Originally published as Tom-All-Alone’s in the UK, and The Solitary House in the US

“A brilliant and sinister remake of Bleak House, exposing the vicious underworld of Victorian London. Totally gripping”
John Carey

“A Victorian tour de force . . . a must-read”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A highly compelling, immaculately written 19th-century murder mystery”
Independent on Sunday

“This terrific Victorian mystery begins in dense fog, like Bleak House, and has an unemployed detective reluctantly obeying a summons to the rat-infested London churchyard of Tom-All-Alone’s. The corpse of a newborn baby awaits him, marking the start of a case whose Dickensian horrors are twinned with a sophisticated understanding of nature of sexual predation”
Sunday Times

“A grisly period detective story with a light-hearted literary conceit”
The Times

“An intelligent, gripping and beautifully written novel which sparkles with bibliophilic glee”
The Scotsman

“Beautifully written… Shepherd has perfectly caught the tone of voice, ranging from the lawyer Tulkinghorn to Esther Summerson and Inspector Bucket, and describes the horrors of nineteenth century slums more candidly than any Victorian novelist ever could… an absorbing read”
Literary Review

“There has recently been a rash of crime novels that are sequels or adaptations of classic fiction, mostly leaving long-dead authors turning in their graves. Shepherd’s ingenious riff on Dickens’s Bleak House is an exception, a clever and playful mystery stuffed with references to the works of several eminent Victorians”
Sunday Express

“This is very much a crime novel, with some very nasty crimes indeed, but it’s also a witty, literate entertainment that lets the reader play Spot-the-Reference”
The Spectator

“A necessary eye for squalor, meticulous research and deft plotting make this a book… you’ll be guaranteed to enjoy”

“Dickens fans will rejoice. . . . Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound”
Booklist (starred review)

“The star of Lynn Shepherd’s intriguing mystery novel is mid-century Victorian London. . . . Her suspenseful story and winning prose ably serve her literary conceit”
Associated Press

“The reader is plunged into a complex but comprehensible labyrinth of deception” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Intellectually enthralling, with dark twists at every turn . . . a haunting novel that will have you guessing until the last pages”
Historical Novels Review

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