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Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Blind Justice

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Blind Justice (1994) Bruce Alexander
A Sir John Fielding Mystery

Jeremy Proctor was orphaned at thirteen, after a mob kills his father–all under the guise of justice. Jeremy runs away to London, and it is there that he first encounters Sir John Fielding, the famous magistrate of Bow Street. While Sir John is trying to find an apprenticeship for him, Jeremy stays at his house and ends up helping Sir John as he attempts to clear the mystery surrounding the death of Lord Richard Goodhope.

I’m a big fan of Victorian (and similar) mysteries, and Bow Street and thief-takers and that entire era of criminal justice is simply fascinating. So if someone writes even moderately well, I’m going to be interested.

Unlike some of the other mysteries I have that are set in Bow Street around this time period, the story focuses not upon the thief-takers and constables, but upon the magistrate, and his attempts to resolve the crime. Even more interesting, Sir John Fielding is an actual historical figure, and this book (and others) is a fictionalized account of his
life after the death of his brother Henry, when he took over at Bow Street.

What isn’t clear from the stories is whether these are fictionalized accounts of true crimes, or whether the author took liberties in creating cases that were appropriate to the time.

However, regardless of whether this was a true case or a made up on, the story is both interesting and enjoyable. Because Jeremy is new to London, we can have the area and the time explained with relative ease. And because he is young, we only see parts of the story. This allows disturbing things to have occurred, without an explicit explanation. We can guess what has happened, but don’t have to be told.

The mystery was strong, although I have to said that I wondered whether the “I have gathered you together here today” bit was realistic. It’s interesting, but is that really how things were done? I don’t know, so I’m curious.

I’m also curious as to how the rest of the series will proceed. We learned a great deal about Sir John Fielding and 18th century London in this book. I am curious as to whether the same ground will be recovered in the second book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have ordered as much of the rest of the series as I could find used. I also left this book in Baltimore with my grandmother, because I think she’ll love it.
Rating: 7/10

Categories: British, Historical, Mystery     Comments (1)    



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