A Mortal Likeness: A Victorian Mystery (Hardcover)
A photographer in 1889 London, Miss Sarah Bain runs a private detective agency with her friends, Lord Hugh Staunton and former street urchin Mick O’Reilly. Their sole credential is that they solved the Jack the Ripper case, a secret they can never tell because they did it outside the boundaries of the law. Their new big case arises when a wealthy banker, Sir Gerald Mariner, posts a handsome reward for finding his missing infant. All of London joins in the search. But Sarah has an advantage—a photograph she took during a routine surveillance job, which unexpectedly reveals a clue about the kidnapping.
After Sir Gerald hires Sarah, Hugh, and Mick to find his son, they move into his opulent mansion and discover a photograph of baby Robin. It eerily resembles postmortem photographs taken of deceased children posed to look as if they’re alive. Was the kidnapping real, or a cover-up for a murder? Is the perpetrator a stranger, or someone inside the troubled Mariner family? The case hits close to home for Sarah as it intertwines with her search for her father, who disappeared after he became the prime suspect in a murder twenty-three years ago. She finds herself on the wrong side of the law, which threatens her budding romance with Police Constable Barrett. But Sarah must uncover the truth about Robin’s kidnapping, and her own family, before her past catches up to her in A Mortal Likeness, the gripping follow-up to award-winning author Laura Joh Rowland’s The Ripper’s Shadow.
About the Author
Laura Joh Rowland is the bestselling author of the samurai detective Sano Ichiro mystery series set in 17th century Japan, as well as a historical suspense series starring Charlotte Bronte. Her work has been published in 21 countries; nominated for the Anthony Award, the Hammett Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award; won RT Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award; and been included in the Wall Street Journal’s list of the five best historical mystery novels. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She is a former aerospace scientist, a painter, and a cartoonist. She lives in New York City with her husband Marty. This is her second Victorian mystery.
Praise for A Mortal Likeness:
“A winning team of outsider heroes and a colorful first-person narrative.”
Praise for The Ripper’s Shadow:
"The whopper of all serial killers, Jack the Ripper, like fire, is to be handled with care, and luckily Rowland knows just how to do it, putting a new twist on old tropes with her witty sleuth, while never sacrificing historical integrity."
—Library Journal starred review
“There are so many fine things about this novel that it’s difficult to enumerate them all. The characters are beautifully drawn; the dialogue sparkles; the setting is vividly rendered...This is sure to delight followers of Ripper-themed fiction and all who cherish Victorian-era mysteries.”
—Booklist starred review
“Close calls, a surprise ending, and the suggestion of further adventures...Rowland has assembled an appealingly ragtag collection of amateur sleuths and keeps the suspense high.”
“This is one author who should be given an A+ for a new take on a very old subject. From the brilliant, unique characters to the frightening fog filling London’s alleys, this is one tale you will not want to put down.”
"Attention to atmospheric detail, original characterizations, and escalating conflict...This is a fresh, modern take on the streets that produced a murderer ’From Hell.’"
"[Rowland’s] wildly diverse cast...brings a special focus on the forgotten and ignored of Victorian society, and provides a fresh, and refreshing, point of view to the otherwise morbid proceedings."
—Mystery Scene Magazine
"Easily one of the best things I’ve read all year...This is a vivid, enjoyable novel with a likable cast of characters and plenty of intrigue and suspense...I’m keen to see what Sarah Bain gets up to next."
“Great detail is given into the personalities and look of each actual historical victim, therefore easily blending actual history into a believable historical mystery...This book is a good beginning into what looks like a great new series with a female protagonist.”
—PCA Mystery & Detective Fiction Reading List, Winter 2017, 4.5 stars
“Laura Joh Rowland reinvents the story of Jack the Ripper in a wholly unexpected way. Gritty, imaginative, and full of nail-biting suspense, The Ripper’s Shadow is a triumph.”
—Tasha Alexander, NYT bestselling author of A Terrible Beauty
"Please let this be the start of a series. I went into The Ripper’s Shadow wondering if I could care about another Jack the Ripper novel, and emerged at the end of it thrilled, off-balance, and astonished at how Laura Joh Rowland was able to bring Victorian England into such vivid life, and a story we all know into new relief. This is a fantastic read."
—Charles Finch, bestselling author of The Inheritance
“Laura Joh Rowland has penned an imaginative, chilling reinterpretation of Jack the Ripper’s bloody reign of terror. A dark, seductive peek into the dangerous underbelly of Victorian London.”
—C.S. Harris, bestselling author of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries
“Tense, pacy and compelling; Laura Joh Rowland commands empathy for the Ripper’s victims and sincere affections for her characters.”
—Stephen Gallagher, critically-acclaimed author of The Kingdom of Bones and The Bedlam Detective