Book Review: Death of a Cabman
Nina Boyd, Death of a Cabman (2015)
Death of a Cabman is the third in the series of Ethel and Amelia Mysteries, although you don’t need to have read the previous two to be able to follow the story. This is not to say that you won’t be very much rewarded if you do read The Disappearing Typewriter and The Vanishing Boy as well.
The story plays in 1911 in Huddersfield. A cabman is found dead in a livery stable and the police very quickly establish that he wasn’t kicked by a horse, but murdered. The police, Inspector MacDuff and police constable Fred Clough, try to find his killer. There is no lack of suspects.
This is the part of the novel that gives the book its title. However, it is so much more than a straight-forward detective story. An issue close to the author’s heart is the suffragette movement, which is also part of the storyline with the protest against the 1911 census. Considering that Australian women have had the vote on federal level since 1902, the characters’ impatience is understandable. In spite of the 100 years which have passed since the events in this book take place, many of the issues, like for instance equal pay, still resonate with women today.
We meet many of our regular friends again. Ethel and Amelia obviously, as well as PC Fred Clough, Miss Carlton and Bertha Rosenthal, who is starting a new club for young single women. A new character, the housemaid Gerties, joins the regular cast (I hope). New are also the daughters of a domineering father who find their independence. And the lives of several of the old friends change dramatically.
As expected from this author, a very enjoyable read. Highly recommended. If like me, you want more than an action only whodunnit, and like to be confronted with a variety of issues, Death of a Cabman is for you.