I’m a fan of Christmas Carol and I’m always intrigued by Charles Dickens’ life so the blurb of Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane drew me in.
Scroll down to see if the novel lived up to my expectations
Book Review: Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane
Title: Folly Ditch
Author: Anna Sayburn Lane
Genre: Crime history
Release Date: 23rd August 2022
A Dickensian murder mystery. A brutal modern-day gang. Can Helen Oddfellow outwit an old enemy – or will she be his next victim?
When literary researcher Helen Oddfellow finds an old newspaper cutting in an antiquarian bookshop, she uncovers a mystery dating back 200 years. Her quest to find the real woman behind one of Charles Dickens’ best-loved characters takes an unexpected turn, when the bookshop owner goes missing.
Helen befriends his distraught teenage daughter as they try to find the missing man. But the marshes of north Kent are home to a criminal gang more brutal than anything Dickens imagined. Murky money, royal connections and desperate people link the past with the present. But it’s the unexpected return of an old enemy that puts Helen herself in mortal peril.
FOLLY DITCH is latest in the series of mysteries featuring literary sleuth and London tour guide Helen Oddfellow.
Long-listed for the Stockholm Writers’ Festival 2022 First 5 Pages prize.
The tone of this novel was set at the start with the raw scenes depicting people trafficking. They made my heart stop despite not being over graphic, so I knew I was in for a tense look into organised crime and the vulnerability of illegal immigrants. Luckily for my nerves, this was well balanced with the mystery surrounding a book which was potentially the key to Charles Dickens’ inspiration for Oliver Twist.
Despite Folly Ditch being my first introduction to amateur sleuth, Helen Oddfellow, she was easy to connect to. As her research placed her and others in danger and the tension increased, I was heavily invested in the characters and kept turning the page.
Would I recommend?
This is a series for fans of crime with historical threads. Folly Ditch can easily be read as a standalone but like all crime series, reading them as a whole adds to the reading experience. Well paced, with an intriguing plot and determined characters made this an ideal read for these cooler evenings. Tapping into my love of crime mysteries, novels about books and my fascination with Charles Dickens’ life made me wish to go on Helen Oddfellows’ Charles Dickens literary tour visiting all his haunts and inspiration.
Anna Sayburn Lane is a writer, editor and journalist. She lives on the Kent coast, at Deal.
Anna has published award-winning short stories and was picked as a Crime in the Spotlight new author at the 2019 Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival. Her 2018 debut novel Unlawful Things was shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer award.
Find out more at www.annasayburnlane.com
Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.