a dangerous duet

4 stars

This is a fun, interesting historical fiction mystery set in Victorian London.

Nineteen-year-old Nell Hallam lives in London with her brother Matthew, an inspector for Scotland Yard. Nell is a gifted pianist that aspires to attend the Royal Academy, but does not have money for the tuition. In order to raise money, Nell disguises herself as a man and plays piano in a Soho music hall. While there, Nell is surrounded by a different class of people and way of living from her staid life in Mayfair.

Nell accidentally discovers that a notorious crime ring is working behind the scenes of the music hall in which she works. After work one night she finds a fellow performer severely beaten and left in an alley to die. Its then that she realizes just how dangerous her knowledge of the crime ring has become.

I really enjoyed this book. It was very easy to read and the story moved at a good pace. Nell is smart, capable, fearless, and maybe a touch reckless. She accepts people that are different from her upbringing, but is savvy enough to know when something doesn’t seem quite right. I thought her interactions with the doctor at the hospital was a bit weird, though, especially his bizarre diagnosis with regard to her mother. Considering how smart and capable Nell was, I thought her blind acceptance of his recommendations a bit unbelievable. Nevertheless, this was a small irritation to the overall book.

If you’re looking for a quick, fun mystery that will keep you interested until the very end, I suggest you read this book. You won’t be disappointed.