Thomas and Emily De Quincey, Book 3
Morrell brings to a conclusion his well researched trilogy featuring Thomas De Quincey, known as the Opium eater, and his daughter Emily. He brought us into the mid-19th century in England, at a time when Russia was at war with England in the Crimea, and the railroad was in the process of transforming the country and bringing it head long into the Industrial Revolution.
De Quincey was one of the first figures to utilize logic and the finding of clues into solving criminal cases. He was a huge consumer of opium, using the intake of laudanum which was used as a painkiller to imbibe it.
The first death aboard a train was about 25 years before the year 1855, which is when this novel is set. We re-meet De Quincey and Emily when they are aboard a train coming out of London, and discover a horrible murder committed in the next compartment to theirs.
The war against Russia is not very popular in England and the first thoughts are that the killing has been done by a Russian agent. The De Quinceys join forces with friends of theirs at Scotland Yard, Detectives Ryan and Becker. Both of these men have learned much about crime solving from Thomas and also each has an open crush on Emily.
Other murders occur in London with the thought the same that they have something to do with the Crimean war.
In solving the cases, David Morrell ties up some past conflicts for De Quincey and in a literary license manner tied to the truth brings the trilogy to a very satisfying ending. Due to the prodigious amount of research into the period and the people living then, the reader experiences the sights, the smells, and the living conditions for both rich and poor.
Well done, a possible prelude to more historical novels with portraits of the people living then.
11/16 Paul Lane
RULER OF THE NIGHT by David Morrell. Mulholland Books (November 15, 2016). ISBN 978-0316307901. 352p.