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When the body of a murdered woman is found in Tooley Street with her throat cut, Chief Inspector Dobbs knows he has his work cut out for him, not only in solving the murder, but in keeping the residents of Whitechapel from panicking that the Ripper has returned to killing ladies of the night .
Meanwhile, Bridget Cummings has no such worries - convincing her sister to go the the deceased womans place of work posing as her friend in order to claim her job. She has enough worries to deal with, what with her brother and sister moving a policeman in as a lodger behind her back, and her long walks back from work late at night in Londons pea souper of a fog.
However, things become much more serious when Bridget is followed home from work one night, and another prostitute is found murdered . Will Bridget be safe, and can the police solve the murders without the Rippers ghost causing panic among London's poorer residents.
This is a book I picked up for around 30p in a charity shop to take on a train journey. I'd read several of Mary Jane Staples books before, (my mum having once had quite a collection) and I knew that they were enjoyable without being too challenging, or so absorbing that I would miss my stop .
This book is no exception - despite containing a few murders, it's actually pretty light in pace - not too slow, not too fast, and is written in such as way that it is an easy book to read and enjoy, without being so deeply gripping that you find yourself overthinking it, or becoming obsessed with reading the whole thing in one go .
As with most MJS books, this one has a fair bit of Cockney lingo - there is the odd rare incidence of rhyming slang, and a lot of dropped aitches, and a lot of words spelt as they might be spoken, 'follered' for example . I'm not sure how accurate her representation of a turn of the century Cockney is, but I did find this quite fun, and it helped to separate the characters out easily by their speech, with the Bobbies all notably speaking good old queens English.
Despite being quite a light read, the plot it decent, with several potential murder suspects involved, and a really quite ingenious ending. I liked the fact that Bridgets story and that of the murders were almost two separate tales, just crossing over on a few occasions,
Overall, this is an easy read that isn't going to win any literary awards, but will while away a few hours. It could easily be read in a day if you wanted to, and actually I really rather enjoyed it. I like a book I can enjoy without thinking too hard - and this one fits the bill nicely.