I am lucky enough to be friends (so I consider) with the very agreeable author and get to review this very nice and entertaining series, and got this book as a gift for Christmas!
The action is set in the Victorian era, a few decades before Sherlock Holmes, but Octavius Guy could very well have worked for him.
He’s very young (in this installment he’s all of fifteen, but with a little brother and a dog in charge), has a privileged intellect and knows and manages very well and has contacts in the underworld of London (we have seen that in the previous volumes of the series, but here “Bertha” also makes an appareance).
It’s a criminal case all right, with the murder of the quite nasty cleric and all its implications and whodunits. I didn’t know the legal term of advowson, which doesn’t let them get rid (without physically eliminating him) of the quibbling cleric, but it seems very interesting… and in some cases it still exists!
But I like the touches of humor, like the rivalry between a very English cook and a very Indian manservant/cook; both contribute interesting things, but Octavius understandably favours the first... doesn’t like the “herbs”
We see also Octavius very in love with his friend/colleague investigator George’s (not much older than he is) lovely sister Annie. But beware, young George is already married to Mary, and she’s quite a character !
He’s also finally getting a real educacion, even learning latin (‘his’ way), and all’s well that ends well because he convinces Bertha that ‘her’ protégé the child William will do much better with an education in a school.
All in all, as enjoyable as the other books in the series, the setting and the language are impeccable as always.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)