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.
Foul Trade is the start of a new crime series featuring May Keaps.
The author transports you back in time and you really get a feel of what life was like in that era. Though the world May finds herself in is a very dark and dangerous one. I know drugs have always been around but didn’t realise just how rife it was in 1920’s.
May is very much a modern woman of her day. She is an independent and determined young lady who knows what she wants in life. She reminded me of a younger version of Agatha Christie’s, Jane Marple. Always getting involved in things she would be best off keeping out of.
Foul Trade is a well written novel that is perfect for fans of historical crime fiction. A very solid start to a brand new crime series and look forward to reading more.
My thanks to Bloodhound Books for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Foul Trade is available to purchase from Amazon.
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.