Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What is it about those Victorians? Sweeney Todd, Jack the Ripper, the murders described in P.D. James' The Maul and the Pear Tree and these, the Thames Torso Murders. Makes you really glad to be living today! The Torso Murders are a real thing (I looked them up), taking place around the same time as Jack's rampage and just as grisly, but far less well-known. And, like Jack's identity, this murderer has never been found, making this book a supposal rather than a retelling .
Working with primitive methods, Dr. Thomas Bond tries to figure out who is responsible - is this more of the Ripper's work? is there another serial killer on the loose? His work is helped, or hindered, depending on your definition, by his growing dependence on opium and "special opium" (aka "heroin"). He's joined in his investigation by a Jesuit and a Jew with visions of the future - sounds like a bad joke but the story does work it all in in a way that makes sense. The solution is the weakest part, relying on coincidence rather than detection.
ARC provided by publisher.