Except the Dying is the first of The Murdoch Mysteries by Maureen Jennings.
February, 1895. Toronto. When a young woman is found murdered, her naked body discarded in a quiet lane one freezing February night, Acting Detective William Murdoch is determined to find the culprit, even though he soon finds himself up against some of the most prominent gentlemen in the city.
As Murdoch starts his investigation, no one is willing to talk, and those who are do not know who the young woman is. However, he eventually discovers that she is Therese Laporte, a runaway maid from the Rhodes residence. But he quickly realises this is only the beginning of the case. It seems everyone connected to the girl has something to hide, but can he navigate his way through the lies and half-truths he is spun before anyone else dies?
I was first introduced to Murdoch via the fabulous TV show, which I love. However, I was a little hesitant to a read the books that inspired it, worried that I would spend my time comparing the book to the show instead of enjoying the story. However, I needn’t have feared. I loved this book; I couldn’t find fault with it. The characters differed enough not to allow for comparisons, which certainly helped.
The historical detail provided within the story easily brought nineteenth century Toronto to life. It, like many Victorian cities, could be a dark, dangerous place, where life for many was often terribly harsh. The descriptions the author provides within the story are vivid; when she described the cold, I could feel it. When she described a room, I felt I was there. The characters were especially engaging and life-like. No detail was omitted, recreating an authentic time full of authentic characters.
If you like the show or the period in which this book is set, I can’t recommend this book highly enough to you. The second book in the series, Under the Dragon’s Tail has already been added to my To Be Read list and I look forward to reading it.