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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

London set fiction as a warm up for the Olympics

Over the coming weeks, in a pre Olympic warm-up, walk with us through the streets of London, past and present; let our chosen authors guide you through the byways and highways of this timeless city, in the company of a good storyline.

"See a location through an author's eyes"

Starting with Victorian London, let these authors take you through the dark, dank streets of the city, the echoes and reverberations of footsteps resonating into the 21st century. It was the time of overt morality, but underneath there was a seamier side of this powerhouse city:.... Jack the Ripper ..... poverty ....... industrialisation ...... smog....... 

And if you would like to share any books, set in the Victorian era in London, where that period simply lifts off the pages, then take a moment or two to introduce other readers to your suggestion (Comments Box below). We have simply scraped the surface as a starter....

London, 1896. Andrew Harrington is young, wealthy and heartbroken. His lover Marie Kelly was murdered by Jack the Ripper and he longs to turn back the clock and save her.
Meanwhile, Claire Haggerty rails against the position of women in Victorian society. Forever being matched with men her family consider suitable, she yearns for a time when she can be free to love whom she chooses.
But hidden in the attic of popular author – and noted scientific speculator – H.G. Wells is a machine that will change everything

A year after Jack the Ripper claimed his last victim, Victorian London is in the grip of a wave of crime and murder, with its citizens no longer able to trust the police to protect them. The newly formed Murder Squad of Scotland Yard, made up of just twelve detectives, battles in vain against the tide of violence and cruelty.
When the body of a Yard detective is found in a suitcase, his lips sewn together and his eyes sewn shut, it becomes clear that not even the police are safe from attack. Has the Ripper returned - or is a new killer at large?

"The first great 19th-century novel of the 21st century". It's the story of a well-read London prostitute named Sugar, who spends her free hours composing a violent, pornographic screed against men.  We learn intimate details about Sugar and her clients,about her lingering skin condition, and about the suspect ingredients of her prophylactic douches. All set against the evocative background of late 19th Century London.

And the idea of Victorian London isn't complete without a work by Dickens. We have chosen Oliver Twist, Dickens’ tale of childhood innocence, beset by evil, which depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters. 


  1. My favorite Victorian authors are: Deanna Raybourn, Charles Finch, Lee Jackson, Michael Cox, Laurie King, Will Thomas, Emily Brightwell, Tasha Alexander, Robin Paige, and Caro Peacock.

    1. It's great to get these recommendations! Thank you. We are making sure we have a representative example of all the authors you mention.

  2. I loved Belinda Starling's The Journal of Dora Damage and also Russell James' The Exhibitionists which, like the works of Matthew Pearl, interweaves real people (in this case, artists such as Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites) with fictional characters.

    1. Interweaving real life characters can really bring a place to life. Thank you for your recommendation - we are adding them to our database