I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Foul Trade by BK Duncan. Published by Bloodhound Books, this is available in many formats. If you have not read the FREE prequel novella “The Last Post” here is the link to Amazon UK for it >>Link<< I will share my thoughts on The Last Post before Foul Trade.
The Last Post, by BK Duncan
It is April 1918. May Keaps is a twenty-year-old ambulance driver stationed at The Front. As if transporting hideously wounded soldiers, sleep deprivation and constant shell bombardment weren’t enough, she becomes unwittingly entangled in the untimely death of a young captain, Tobias Fairfax.
Newly-arrived in Northern France he was found with a discharged pistol by his side; rumours on the battlefield were that it wasn’t an accident and he had taken the coward’s way out, committing suicide.
Whatever the explanation, Tobias left a dangerous legacy that puts May in the line of fire. But she is not the only one with a reason to want to uncover the truth. And in a world where life can be extinguished in the blink of an eye, May might regret her search for answers…The Last Post is the haunting introduction to the May Keaps series.
In this story we meet for the first time, May Keaps. She is an ambulance driver on the front, transporting casualties of the war to hospital. For a novella, this book has a big presence. BK has for me, captured the despair, fear, sombreness and fear of life in the war, with vivid descriptions.
As an introduction to this author and also the character of May Keaps, I cannot find fault. It was a great read and did its job well, I look forward to the next story. A full length one.
Looking for a compelling new mystery which will have you hooked?
It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner’s Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.
The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.
May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it’s an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man’s body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.
As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman’s noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs.
So it is now march 1920, and again we are reunited with May Louise Keaps, ex ambulance driver and now officer for Poplar Coroners Court. In this story May is the efficient and resourceful force behind the Coroner, she is the one who makes sure all the paperwork, subpoenas and warrants are dealt with, they are just the basics of her job. She goes above and beyond the call of duty as she swaps the battlefields for the wharves of London, as she investigates a suspicious death. She will discover a world of gangs, drugs and dens, gambling and illegal trade.
If you want a book that gives you a descriptive walk through of the London wharves and surrounding area, then this has got to be one you read. BK has brought some vivid and detailed descriptions that make it feel very realistic with the sights, sounds and also the smells. There has been obvious research into this period, I found a great deal of observational content on living conditions, social housing, economics and family struggles, this added a real extra depth. It was appropriate for the plot, now that I really did enjoy, it took me a couple of chapters to work out where the story was going. This was all my fault as I did not read the synopsis, I just dived right in after reading The Last Post. But as I started to pick up the threads of the story, I found it took me along the dark alleys into grim back rooms and among warehouses as the plot progressed. Along the way there are quite a few characters to get to know, a mixed bunch of rogues, ruffians and gentlemen, you soon work out who is who, but I guarantee you will be wrong in your assumptions of some.
This is a great read that I would have no problem recommending to readers who like historical crime and mystery fiction. It is well researched and well written. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
About the Author:
Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.
Following a career encompassing developmental learning and management consultancy (specialising in personal and organisational change) she made the switch to full time writer, combining producing her own work with lecturing in creative writing in colleges and academies in Hertfordshire and Cambridge. Her summers are spent on two never-ending tasks – re-pointing the walls of her flint cottage and reclaiming the wilderness of her meadow garden. For relaxation she reads, goes to the theatre, and explores the local countryside but her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.
Her proudest moment was when she overcame her fear of deep water to go potholing in the Yorkshire Pennines.
BK Duncan also writes as Ruth Wade. Read her Amazon #1 best-seller A Fatal Rhythm on Kindle.
Many thanks for reading my post. If you liked it, give a little share. Better still, go and get both of these wonderful books.