The Murder of Patience Brooke

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

The Murder of Patience Brooke (Charles Dickens and Superintendent Sam Jones #1)
Author:  J C Briggs
Publisher:  Sapere Books
Publication Date:  December 27, 2018
4 Stars

Imagine Charles Dickens not only as a famous writer but also as an amateur detective.  This is the premise of the Murder of Patience Brooke.  Patience Brooke is the matron’s assistant at a home that Charles Dickens established for fallen women.  She is found brutally murdered outside the home.  Dickens is determined to find Patience’s killer to not only bring him to justice, but also to protect the future of the women’s home.  Dickens turns to his friend, Superintendent Sam Jones, to help him unravel this mystery.  Besides insisting that she had never been a prostitute, Patience was very secretive about her past.  This complicates the investigation as Dickens and Jones are not sure who Patience really was, and they have very little to go on in regards to motive.  The only lead seems to be the mysterious presence of a man with a crooked face.

What a great start to the Charles Dickens and Superintendent Sam Jones  mystery series.  I truly enjoyed all the aspects of this story:  setting, plot, and characters.  The setting is Victorian England, and the author does such a great job of painting a vivid picture of this time.  The story takes us through the streets of London (many of them notable) and beyond.  We are taken on a ride through the dark, seedy side of London, where we are given a look at the dangerous lifestyles and the desolate situations that many Londoners were in.  This is starkly compared to how the upper class of England lived.  The author does a great job showing the great disparity of the two.  A fact that Dickens himself was really dismayed with.

The plot was intricate and intriguing, and it had many surprising twists and turns, much like the back alleys of London.  Nothing was as simple as it first appeared.  I found myself very much invested in the investigation, and it was hard to put the book down.

The plot is supported by a great variety of interesting and realistic characters.  The historically accurate attributes of Dickens himself are seamlessly woven together with the fictional components of the story.  

I loved this story, and I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series.  I think if you enjoy historical mysteries and mysteries set during the Victorian Era that you will enjoy this book.

Thanks to Net Galley and Sapere Books for an ARC of this book.  #NetGalley #TheMurderOfPatienceBrooke
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First I would like to thank net galley and sapere books for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review 
The book is historical fiction about a murder set in Victorian London I enjoyed the book so much the author has done a fantastic job of  transporting the reader back to old London and with great  characters  Including Charles Dickens. If you have not read any of Charles Dickens books there are some spoilers in this book. I was so griped from start to Finish  reading this one I can’t wait to read the next ones. I can definitely say this is a  recommended read
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The idea of Charles Dickens investigating crime in Victorian England seemed either intriguing or silly when I heard of it.  It turned out to by neither. It wasn’t anything extremely good and it wasn’t anything extremely bad. It was a decent little mystery. Sometimes it was slow. Sometimes it was interesting but mostly it was average.
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Quite a few twists and turns in this book. If you like detective novels set in the 1800s then this book will suit you. It's not a book that you get so engrossed in that you can't put it down and a few more murders would have made it more interesting but at the end of it I did want to start on the 2nd in the series 'Death at Hungerford Stairs' straight away, which luckily Ive already got.
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Another excellent edition to a wonderful series! Full of twists and turns that leaves you wanting more and enjoying each moment until the end when the killer is caught.
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We are taken into the world of Victorian London and Charles Dickens detective work with Superintendent Jones of Bow Street. Charles has set up a home for fallen women run by Matron Morson. Recently arrived is Patience Brooke a women with no past and now brutally murdered. The trail for Dickens and Jones will follow the crooked face pedlar to London’s slums. They navigate these slums with the help of a boy Scrap. This is a time when the huge differences in society show through in the story. It was an enthralling read interspersed with the writing of Dickens books.
I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Set in February 1849 in Victorian London, Charles Dickens is starting work on writing his latest novel, David Copperfield. With funding received from Miss Courts, a wealthy benefactor, he has been able to set up and successfully run Urania Cottage, a home for fallen women. One foggy night the matron of the home is shocked to discover the murdered body of Patience Brooke stabbed and tied to the railings in the garden. The young lady had worked as her assistant and although she was quiet and dutiful, it seemed she was fleeing something awful in her past which she would never discuss. Keen to avoid scandal, Dickens goes straight to his friend Superintendent Sam Jones of Bow Street Police, a well respected detective and in many ways like a father to Charles. Their search for the truth takes them from the luxury of wealthy gentlemen's clubs right down to the seedy squalid underbelly of London and all its varied inhabitants, together with foggy slums and slimy alleyways that the reader can almost feel. Much of the rags to riches history of Dickens' early life is related in the story and he fears at times that someone is making his past come back to haunt him as the investigation takes them first one way and then another in their search for the Crooked Man. As they delve deeper more sadness and depravity is unearthed before they are able to arrive at the truth. I liked the way that Dickens' progress in his own writing was tracked throughout the book, and the book is teeming with rich well described characters that instantly come to life, something that the author has a real talent for. I would most definitely recommend this book and I am very pleased to see that there are already three more in the series to look forward to.
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The Murder of Patience Brooke, is the first in a series by J. C. Briggs's 

Thank you to Sapere Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair review.

The book is a work of historical fiction and is murder mystery set in Victorian London in the opening scene a gruesome murder is discovered the victim Patience Brooke. Superintendent Jones of  Bow Street police and Charles Dickens are called upon to investigating the murder why Charles Dickens is called for also becomes clear in the opening scene. ( No spoilers from me )

The author has done a wonderful job of researching Charles Dickens and the time period in which the book is set, doing excellent job of being the sites sound and smells Victorian London. 

My only complaint being that I found the book very lengthy in some places but a very good read.

Recommended to lovers of crime stories and historical fiction.
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This just felt overdone to me..for some,  this will feel good,  comfortable,  easy,  relaxing; I have reading friends that enjoy this kind of thing on a long flight or a stormy night on the sofa with a box of wine,  but just not my cup of tea
Well-written,  I liked the use of language,  I'm a wordsmithing nerd and that was very pleasurable
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and give my unbiased review
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An enjoyable opening to a fun new historical mystery series that imagines Charles Dickens pursuing detective work with his friend Superintendent Jones of Bow Street. I enjoyed the atmosphere created by the author and the thought the story was solid. It took a few chapters to get into it, but I enjoyed it until the end.
I look forward to reading more in the series when I can.
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"[...]childhood leaves its indelible mark. I know that. And, I think sometimes, Sam, that there is in us all an impulse of self-destruction, but it is held in check by our responsibilities, out sense of duty to others and ourselves."

Have you ever wondered what if Charles Dickens followed his want of being a detective? Just like some history buffs say he wanted to?

Well, look no further as J.C.Briggs brought along a great story about the writer as a detective, helping solve cases with his friend, the superintendent Sam Jones.

When one of the women of the House is found murdered, tied in front of the place, throat slit and appearance changed to that of a lady of the night, Charles finds himself calling his friend Jones to help solve the murder and bring justice to Patience Brooke, a woman so silent and calm, that did not deserve what faith has brought her. 

The story is very fast paced, and very well written, the suspense of who killed Patience Brooke and why, having us gripping the phone, tablet, computer whatever you are reading it with until the very end. I very much enjoyed reading it, and already am going to the next ones while waiting for the fourth to come out. J.C's writing is marvellous and brought to life a London so very mysterious and full of character!
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Thank you to Sapere Books and NetGalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

I found this book quite fascinating because it features author Charles Dickens. Even though it is historical fiction, the author lets the reader know that he was very interested in criminal activity and could have been an investigator. It also includes some details about his real life (wife, children, etc.). This book involves solving the murder of Patience Brooke. She seems to have some secrets and no one really knows too much about her. This is the first in this series and I can't wait to read the next in this series!
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A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens is my favorite book. When this popped up on NetGalley I thought for sure this was right up my alley. The plot revolves around a murdered woman and Charles Dickens as an investigator. While on face value that sounds pretty interesting right? It was in reality just fine. Not bad, not good, just fine. While the author certainly knows her way around a Charles Dickens book, she somehow fails to draw you into this mystery. There seemed to be a lot of narrative revolving around street names in central London that drove me a little crazy. I don't care what street your on, talk about the murder! If you truly love Victorian literature, you'll probably love this as well. I just couldn't get into it. Thanks to NetGalley for providing and ARC for review.
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I'd like to thank #JCBriggs, #NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of #TheMurderOfPatienceBrooke in exchange for an honest review.

Set in Victorian London in 1849, THE MURDER OF PATIENCE BROOKE is the first in the series of historical mysteries featuring Charles Dickens. Accompanied by his police detective friend Superintendant Sam Jones, Dickens finds himself embroiled in the mystery surrounding mysterious Patience Brooke, who came to the Home Dickens had set up for "fallen women" and worked as an assistant housekeeper. When Mrs Morson, matron of the Home, discovers Patience's blood-soaked body on the step, her throat having been cut, she pens a note to Dickens and sends for him at once. And to bring Superintendant Jones as well.

Patience's life before she came to Urania Cottage is cloused in secrecy. She never spoke about it and no one asked. However, her past is soon discovered with "old school" detective work, knocking on doors and speaking to neighbours and possible witnesses - all without the aid of forensics and technology of today.

Then another young girl from the Home disappears and it feared the killer - a man with a crooked face - has a taste for innocent young girls, an abhorrent and distasteful crime even in Victorian times.

Throughout the book, Dickens often refers to the books her has written and the one he is currently writing - "David Copperfield" - and draws parallels to the the backstories surrounding the crime, which becomes a sort of investigative aid for both him and Jones.

The one irritant I found in this book was the frequent descriptions of routes taken around the city, which means nothing to me (not being a resident of London), though for those who do know the city might find it interesting and enhances the story for them. I, however, did not. It was irritating and I thought a little unnecessary. Here or there maybe, but every time Dickens walked home or was in pursuit of a lead, the routes down which roads, streets and alleys were given. 

Aside from that one point, I found the story completely atmospheric. Although I have never read any Dickens' novels as I found the old English dialect a little hard to absorb, this book really did feel as if you were in Victorian London. It was a really enjoyable and easy to read story. I loved the camaraderie between Dickens and Jones and thought they made a wonderful team. The mystery surrounding Patience Brooke's murder is dark and twisted, keeping you guessing till the end. Whilst identifying the killer was one thing, locating him was another.

A brilliant, atmospheric read. Highly recommended!
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First sentence: Thrown on the wide world, doom'd to wander and roam, Bereft of my parents, bereft of my home.

Premise/plot: The Murder of Patience Brooke is the first in a new mystery series starring Charles Dickens. Dickens is working with police detective, Sam Jones. The case is personal--the murder victim, Patience Brooke, lived at Urania Cottage, a sanctuary for fallen women that Charles Dickens helps support. Not that Patience Brooke was a fallen woman, she was a woman of many, many secrets but much learning.

This one is set in Victorian London in 1849. (When Charles Dickens IS NOT on the case following leads, he is at work on a new novel, David Copperfield.) 

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED this one. J.C. Briggs does two things well in this one: world building and characterization.

The setting is wonderful--gritty but wonderful. It really showcases the plight of the poor--and seemingly invisible--and the plight of women. Dickens advocates for both. Briggs' Dickens advocates for both in this fictional novel, and Dickens' fiction speaks for itself in my opinion.

But the setting would not be enough to carry the story if it didn't feel peopled. Briggs does a FANTASTIC job with her characters. Not just with the main characters, Charles and Sam, but with ALL the characters. And yes, I do mean ALL. It doesn't matter if we spend a hundred pages with a character or just half a page--all feel fleshed out and human. Briggs had me caring.

I also have to say that I enjoyed the writing. That almost goes without saying since you can't have characterization without writing. But. It is worth mentioning. The story was well-paced and compelling. And compelling not because it was a plot-driven thriller--those have their place perhaps--but because you CARED about the characters and wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.
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This novel is set  in Victorian London in 1849 and features the writer Charles Dickens who is called to the discovery of Patience Brooke’s body. The story follows his subsequent investigation alongside the Bow Street police. 
I enjoyed this book (the first in a series.) I thought the descriptions of Victorian London were evokotiave and lyrical and the portrayal of Charles Dickens was detailed and 3 dimensional.
I look forward to the series continuing. .
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JC Briggs’ The Murder of Patience Brooke is the first in a series of historical mysteries with an intriguing premise — that Charles Dickens works with the police to solve a series of murders. 

I’m not the world’s biggest Dickens fan, which doesn’t matter at all, and know very little about him, which possibly does, given the references to his insecurities about his background and his uncertainty about his marriage. I felt there was a layer in this book that I’m rather missing out on; but maybe I’m wrong. And even if I’m not, there was plenty here to get stuck into as Dickens and his friend, Superintendent Sam Jones, set out to solve the mystery of the murder of virtuous and mysterious Patience Brooke, found gruesomely displayed outside the home for fallen women which Dickens established. 

There was so much to enjoy in this book. The plot was engaging and gathered pace as our heroes began to run the villain to earth. The central characters were rounded and appealing and Dickens’ unhappy marriage (and large family) was cleverly contrasted with Jones’ happy, but childless, one. I did feel that many of the subsidiary characters were less rounded and more caricatured — though in fairness, that’s true of Dickens’ novels so maybe it was a deliberate nod to the master, even though that particular element didn’t work for me. 

I had a few niggles. I found the writing a bit clunky in places, with too many short sentences, and I was distracted by the use of ‘street speak’. (Is there really any value in using ‘sed’ for ‘said’ or ‘woz’ for ‘was’ when they sound the same?) And there was one point where a conversation referred to two different characters called Crewe and Carew, which had me momentarily confused.

It wasn’t the detectives who stole the show, though. It was Victorian London. The descriptions of the old city, its glories and it hell-holes, its sound and smells, its muffling fog, its early mornings and threatening darkness, were fantastic. If there was no other reason for me to read more in this series (and there are many), the setting alone would keep me going. London is the protagonist in this book, far more striking and capricious (and believable) even than Dickens himself. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Sapere Book for a copy of this book, in return for an honest review.
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When I saw The Murder of Patience Brooke by J.C. Briggs on NetGalley I knew I had to read it. The book begins at the home that Charles Dickens founded for fallen women. The gruesome murder of Patience Brooke is discovered. So Charles Dickens and Superintendent Jones waste no time in investigating the murder. They did not know much about Patience Brooke but soon find out that not many knew her at all. Her past is clouded in secrecy. However, another girl disappears. They realize they may not have much time at all as they track through London chasing clues to find this evil murderer.

So the first thing that caught my eye was the title. It sounded like a good mystery. Then I saw that it was a Victorian London mystery…even better. AND THEN I saw that it is the first in a series called Charles Dickens Investigations! As in… A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol…yes, that Charles Dickens! I absolutely adore Charles Dickens. He is one of my favorite authors, so reading a book about him investigating murders just really drew me in!

I must say, I was not disappointed! There were a few slow parts. I had to read when I was fully awake so that I did not miss any details. However, this book takes you on a journey through gloomy, foggy, Victorian London. The descriptions are unbelievable, it made me feel that I was there! This book is full of small details and facts regarding Charles Dickens which I really enjoyed. Also, Charles Dickens is not the only author that readers meet, no spoilers though. I also love the camaraderie between Dickens and Jones. They make a wonderful team. The mystery is dark and full of twists that keep the reader guessing until the end.

Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars! I am counting down the minutes until I can read the next book!

Thank you, NetGalley and Sapere Books for a copy of this book!
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The Murder of Patience Brooke, the first novel in J. C. Briggs's Charles Dickens Investigations series, is part historical fiction, part murder mystery set in bustling Victorian London. Originally released in 2012 it sets up for the two more books to come both featuring Charles Dickens as an intrepid and highly observant investigator as he teams up with Superintendent Jones from Bow Street police. You can tell that Briggs loves Dickens and has extensively researched both the man and the time period in which he lived lending an air of authenticity to the story from the very beginning.

Dickens's fascination with people, crime and murder serve him well here as he chases the case through to its conclusion like a pit-bull nip-nip-nipping at the heels of the perpetrator. For a fan of classic crime novelists such as Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle whose focus is on the mystery and much less on profanity and graphic violence, this will most likely be thoroughly enjoyable. The writing flows well, the characters are intriguing and the Victorian setting is perfect. It's grim, foggy and has plenty of dingy, dimly-lit alleys for criminals to disappear down, letting the dark envelop them. The ideal cosy, historical crime novel for the chilly winter evenings.

Many thanks to Sapere Books for an ARC.
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‘Mr Dickens, you must come immediately.  Patience Brooke is dead this night.’

Set in Victorian London in 1849, the discovery of Patience Brooke’s body hanging outside Urania Cottage has Mrs Georgiana Morson, matron of the cottage, writing to Charles Dickens.  She asks him to attend, and to bring his friend Superintendent Sam Jones of Bow Street as well.  Patience Brooke was Mrs Morson’s assistant at Urania Cottage, established by Charles Dickens and Miss Angela Burdett-Coutts as a sanctuary for fallen women.  A murder of one of the Cottage’s inhabitants could undermine the good work being done there.  Charles Dickens is desperate to protect the reputation of Urania Cottage and to prevent a scandal from spreading.

A description of a ‘man with a crooked face’ and a fragment of a song overheard seem to be the only clues. 
‘Thrown on the wide world, doom’d to wander and roam, 
Bereft of my parents, bereft of my home.’

Little was known about Patience Brooke’s past.  Initially Superintendent Jones and Charles Dickens keep the murder from the public, telling those that they interview that Patience Brooke is missing.  Their search for the killer takes them into many unsavoury parts of Victorian London and involves several interesting well-crafted characters.  The London fog has its own part to play in the story.

Having started with a perfectly plausible reason for Charles Dickens’s involvement in the murder investigation, Ms Briggs has him reflecting on his life and books he has written. We see aspects of his domestic life, his concerns for his family and gathering observations for new works.  At the same time, he and Superintendent Jones are following possible leads which have them travelling around London in search of the killer. Identifying the killer is one step, locating the killer is another.

I really enjoyed this novel, which is the first in a series.  I enjoyed the descriptions of Victorian London, the portrayal of Charles Dickens as both man and author almost as much as the murder mystery itself.  I’m looking forward to the next novel.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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