Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday's Series Spotlight: DS Billings Victorian Mysteries by Olivier Bosman


Detective Sergeant John Billings is a Quaker. He sees God in everyone and takes other people's suffering to heart. He is an honest and hard working man who has risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of Scotland Yard's youngest detectives. But in his private life he struggles with the demons of loneliness, morphine addiction and homosexuality.

Death Takes a Lover #1
Summary:
The year is 1888. Detective Sergeant John Billings has been sent to a remote house in the Yorkshire Moors to investigate the suspicious death of Roger Thornton, a young man who seemed to have everything to live for. He gets a frosty reception from the lady of the house and her rag-tag collection of domestic staff who try to put him off the scent, but as Billings delves deeper into their lives, he uncovers hidden passions, bitter rivalries and a truth so dark and sinister, it will shock you to the core.

Fusing Gothic romanticism and fin-de-siecle melodrama, 'Death Takes A Lover' is a chilling entry into a world which some may not want to enter, but if you do, don't say you haven't been warned...


This is a great introduction to the DS Billings Mystery series although it is a little short for my liking.  It's pretty obvious that Billings is a gay man who is not ready to admit that part of himself, whether it is his Quaker upbringing or the era that he lives in, who is to say.  I did appreciate the fact that it is not an overused plotline but looked upon in the the detective's inner monologues.

RATING: 

The Ornamental Hermit #2
Summary:
The year is 1890. Detective Sergeant John Billings is a Quaker. He sees God in everyone and takes other people's suffering to heart. He is an honest and hard working man who has risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of Scotland Yard's youngest detectives. But in his private life he struggles with the demons of loneliness, morphine addiction and homosexuality.

While Scotland Yard is in the midst of foiling a Russian counterfeiting operation, Billings is asked to investigate the cold blooded murder of Lord Palmer. The main suspect is a rough looking vagrant called Brendan Lochrane who was employed by Lord Palmer to live as an 'ornamental hermit' in a grotto in his estate. When Billings visits Lochrane in his holding cell, he is moved by the look in the man's eyes. This is not the 'Wild Man' the press have made him out to be. Lochrane is mute, docile and unresponsive. A gut feeling leads Billings to suspect that the man is being framed. But who is framing him? And why?

Billings travels the length and breadth of Britain investigating the case. As he pieces together the fragments of Lochrane's extraordinary life, he slowly finds himself becoming embroiled in a web of corruption and deceit which goes right to the heart of Scotland Yard.

'The Ornamental Hermit' is a thrilling mystery which leads the reader on a colourful journey into Victorian England. This is the 2nd book in the D.S.Billings Victorian Mysteries series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand alone story.


I highly enjoyed this second installment in the DS Billings Mystery series, once again the fact that Billings is a gay man in a time when it is against the law is not the center of the story, although I do think that the detective is more likely to finally admit the fact that that is who he is to himself.  The mystery is intriguing and his Quaker past does factor in when his foster family asks for his assistance, and the two cases may not be as separate as once thought.  I look forward to seeing what future trouble DS Billings gets himself into.

RATING: 

Author Bio:
Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I've spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia.

I'm an avid reader and film fan and I have an MA in creative writing for film and television.


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Death Takes a Lover #1
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The Ornamental Hermit #2

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