Firstly I wish to thank Sarah Hardy of Bloodhound Books for inviting me to take part on this Blog Blitz for Foul Trade by BK Duncan
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.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Firstly I have to say even without the main story I could have read this book from cover to cover. BK Duncan took me back in time on a journey to walk the streets of London and all the hardship that went with it. The people, the way they lived and even the smells. The research is more than outstanding, it really is just superb.
I had already met May Keaps as a young ambulance driver in the Great War of 1914-18 in The Last Post, a novella. This had laid down the shell of this courageous 20-year-old as a woman who I wanted to know more about. When added to the scene I have described above it made for a brilliant read.
May was never just going to blend in with other girls, she was as the saying goes ‘born before her time’. It is now 1920 and May has acquired a very respectable position as Officer in the Coroners Court of Popular, dealing with all the paper work of suspicious deaths round the docks and back streets where drug dealing and drug taking occurred regular, it was never going to keep her satisfied. May was a very intelligent young woman who had a mind of questions needing answers.
May has to scratch that itch that makes her want to get justice for the dead, which takes her into extremely dangerous territory. It was here that I had to gather my thoughts, the author BK Duncan had so far delivered to me a strong determined woman but now she just made her ‘real’. For me it was at May’s hardest and most dangerous time in her life that bonded me to this character and brought her to life when she was at her most vulnerable.
Being so young she still has a lot to learn but there are a couple of super characters in this story that I hope to find out more about as time goes by. This is such an exciting discovery for me a reader, I am already eager for more.
This is a cracking story, a superb back drop and an outstanding new woman on the block for solving crimes.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BK Duncan is the pen name Ruth Wade has adopted for the May Keaps series of historical crime novels.
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 change-management consultancy she now combines producing her own work with lecturing part-time in creative writing in colleges and academies in Cambridge and Oxford. Her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.
BK Duncan also writes historical crime novels as Ruth Wade.