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A Fatal Likeness

A Novel

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eBook published by Delacorte Press (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
With The Solitary House, award-winning author Lynn Shepherd introduced readers to Charles Maddox, a brilliant private detective plying his trade on the gaslit streets of Dickensian London. Now, in this mesmerizing new novel of historical suspense, a mystery strikes disturbingly close to home—and draws Maddox into a world of literary legends, tormented souls, and a legacy of terrible secrets.
 
When his great-uncle, the master detective who schooled him in the science of “thief taking,” is mysteriously stricken, Charles Maddox fears that the old man’s breakdown may be directly related to the latest case he’s been asked to undertake. Summoned to the home of a stuffy nobleman and his imperious wife, Charles finds his investigative services have been engaged by no less than the son of celebrated poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his famed widow, Mary, author of the gothic classic Frankenstein. Approached by a stranger offering to sell a cache of rare papers allegedly belonging to the legendary late poet, the Shelley family seeks Maddox’s aid in discovering whether the precious documents are authentic or merely the work of an opportunistic charlatan.
 
But the true identity of his quarry is only the first of many surprises lying in wait for the detective. Hardly a conniving criminal, Claire Clairmont is in fact the stepsister of Mary Shelley, and their tortured history of jealousy, obsession, and dark deceit looms large over the affair Maddox must untangle. So, too, does the shadow of the brilliant, eccentric Percy Shelley, who found no rest from the private demons that pursued him. With each new detail unearthed, the investigation grows ever more disturbing. And when shocking evidence of foul play comes to light, Maddox’s chilling hunt for the truth leads him into the blackest reaches of the soul.
 
Steeped in finely wrought Victorian atmosphere, and rife with eye-opening historical revelations, A Fatal Likeness carries the reader ever deeper into a darkly magnetic tale of love and madness as utterly harrowing and heartbreaking as it is undeniably human.

Praise for A Fatal Likeness
 
“[Shepherd] takes the familiar story of the Shelley family and fills in the holes in the historical record by turning it into a clever, imaginative and literate mystery.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Unforgettably chilling, A Fatal Likeness will haunt you long after you finish the last page.”New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander
 
“Maddox’s brooding character and Shepherd’s own voice . . . are both enthralling.”Booklist
 
“Charged with passion, betrayals and conspiracies, [A Fatal Likeness] more than restores Shelley’s darker side, yet it is Mary you won’t be able to forget.”Bloomberg

“Shepherd shines again in this superb Victorian thriller. . . . The novel works equally as a family story, a blend of horror and mystery, and a plausible hypothesis about why so many women and children associated with Shelley died mysterious deaths.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“As a piece of literary detective work, it’s stimulating and hugely fun—even brilliant.”—The Spectator
 
“A potent mixture of passion, intrigue, perversion, and betrayal, exploring the lives of Shelley, Byron, and their Romantic intimates through a Gothic lens.”—Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham
Show less
With The Solitary House, award-winning author Lynn Shepherd introduced readers to Charles Maddox, a brilliant private detective plying his trade on the gaslit streets of Dickensian London. Now, in this mesmerizing new novel of historical suspense, a mystery strikes disturbingly close to home—and draws Maddox into a world of literary legends, tormented souls, and a legacy of terrible secrets.
 
When his great-uncle, the master detective who schooled him in the science of “thief taking,” is mysteriously stricken, Charles Maddox fears that the old man’s breakdown may be directly related to the latest case he’s been asked to undertake. Summoned to the home of a stuffy nobleman and his imperious wife, Charles finds his investigative services have been engaged by no less than the son of celebrated poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his famed widow, Mary, author of the gothic classic Frankenstein. Approached by a stranger offering to sell a cache of rare papers allegedly belonging to the legendary late poet, the Shelley family seeks Maddox’s aid in discovering whether the precious documents are authentic or merely the work of an opportunistic charlatan.
 
But the true identity of his quarry is only the first of many surprises lying in wait for the detective. Hardly a conniving criminal, Claire Clairmont is in fact the stepsister of Mary Shelley, and their tortured history of jealousy, obsession, and dark deceit looms large over the affair Maddox must untangle. So, too, does the shadow of the brilliant, eccentric Percy Shelley, who found no rest from the private demons that pursued him. With each new detail unearthed, the investigation grows ever more disturbing. And when shocking evidence of foul play comes to light, Maddox’s chilling hunt for the truth leads him into the blackest reaches of the soul.
 
Steeped in finely wrought Victorian atmosphere, and rife with eye-opening historical revelations, A Fatal Likeness carries the reader ever deeper into a darkly magnetic tale of love and madness as utterly harrowing and heartbreaking as it is undeniably human.

Praise for A Fatal Likeness
 
“[Shepherd] takes the familiar story of the Shelley family and fills in the holes in the historical record by turning it into a clever, imaginative and literate mystery.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Unforgettably chilling, A Fatal Likeness will haunt you long after you finish the last page.”New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander
 
“Maddox’s brooding character and Shepherd’s own voice . . . are both enthralling.”Booklist
 
“Charged with passion, betrayals and conspiracies, [A Fatal Likeness] more than restores Shelley’s darker side, yet it is Mary you won’t be able to forget.”Bloomberg

“Shepherd shines again in this superb Victorian thriller. . . . The novel works equally as a family story, a blend of horror and mystery, and a plausible hypothesis about why so many women and children associated with Shelley died mysterious deaths.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“As a piece of literary detective work, it’s stimulating and hugely fun—even brilliant.”—The Spectator
 
“A potent mixture of passion, intrigue, perversion, and betrayal, exploring the lives of Shelley, Byron, and their Romantic intimates through a Gothic lens.”—Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham
Product Details
eBook (384 pages)
Published: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780345538673
Other books byLynn Shepherd
  • Murder at Mansfield Park

    Murder at Mansfield Park
    A Novel
    "Nobody, I believe, has ever found it possible to like the heroine of Mansfield Park." --Lionel Trilling In this ingenious new twist on Mansfield Park, the famously meek Fanny Price--whom Jane Austen's own mother called "insipid"--has been utterly transformed; she is now a rich heiress who is spoiled, condescending, and generally hated throughout the county. Mary Crawford, on the other hand, is now as good as Fanny is bad, and suffers great indignities at the hands of her vindictive neighbor. It's only after Fanny is murdered on the grounds of Mansfield Park that Mary comes into her own, teaming-up with a thief-taker from London to solve the crime. Featuring genuine Austen characters--the same characters, and the same episodes, but each with a new twist--MURDER AT MANSFIELD PARK is a brilliantly entertaining novel that offers Jane Austen fans an engaging new heroine and story to read again and again.

    The Solitary House

    The Solitary House
    A Novel
    Lynn Shepherd’s first acclaimed novel of historical suspense, Murder at Mansfield Park, brilliantly reimagined the time of Jane Austen. Now, in this spellbinding new triumph, she introduces an unforgettable duo of detectives into the gaslit world of Dickens.   London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.   On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.   To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.   But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.   Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: it plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.

    Murder at Mansfield Park

    Murder at Mansfield Park
    Ever wondered what it would have been like if Jane Austen had turned her hand to murder? Murder at Mansfield Park takes Austen's masterpiece and turns it into a riveting murder story worthy of PD James or Agatha Christie. Just as in many classic English detective mysteries, this new novel opens with a group of characters in a country house setting, with passions running high, and simmering tensions beneath the elegant Regency surface. The arrival of the handsome and debonair Henry Crawford and his sister forces these tensions into the open, and sparks a chain of events that leads inexorably to violence and death. Beautifully written, with an absolute faithfulness to the language in use at the time, Murder at Mansfield Park is both a good old-fashioned murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the very last page, and a sparklingly clever inversion of the original, which goes to the heart of many of the questions raised by Jane Austen's text. Austen's Mansfield Park is radically different from any of her other works, and much of the pleasure of Lynn Shepherd's novel lies in the way it takes the characters and episodes in the original, and turns them into a lighter, sharper, and more playful book, with a new heroine at its centre - a heroine who owes far more to the lively and spirited Elizabeth Bennet, than the dreary and insipid Fanny Price.

    A Treacherous Likeness

    A Treacherous Likeness
    In the dying days of 1850 the young detective Charles Maddox takes on a new case. His client? The only surviving son of the long-dead poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his wife Mary, author of Frankenstein. Charles soon finds himself being drawn into the bitter battle being waged over the poet's literary legacy, but then he makes a chance discovery that raises new doubts about the death of Shelley's first wife, Harriet, and he starts to question whether she did indeed kill herself, or whether what really happened was far more sinister than suicide. As he's drawn deeper into the tangled web of the past, Charles discovers darker and more disturbing secrets, until he comes face to face with the terrible possibility that his own great-uncle is implicated in a conspiracy to conceal the truth that stretches back more than thirty years.The story of the Shelleys is one of love and death, of loss and betrayal. In this follow-up to the acclaimed Tom-All-Alone's, Lynn Shepherd offers her own fictional version of that story, which suggests new and shocking answers to mysteries that still persist to this day, and have never yet been fully explained.Praise for Tom-All-Alone's:A brilliant and sinister remake of Bleak House, exposing the vicious underworld of Victorian London. Totally gripping. - John Carey.Dickens' s world described with modern precision. - The Times. Beaitifully written... an absorbing read - Literary Review.A necessary eye for squalor, meticulous research and deft plotting make this a book... you'll be guaranteed to enjoy. - Guardian.

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