The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd

76%

19 Critic Reviews

Maddox makes some serious missteps, a refreshing change from the typical all-knowing detective...Maddox could well carry a series.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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.

This eBook edition includes two complete classic novels that are referenced in The Solitary House: Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White!  This edition also includes a discussion guide and an excerpt from Lynn Shepherd's A Fatal Likeness.

Praise for The Solitary House
 
“A Victorian tour de force . . . a must-read.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Dickens fans will rejoice. . . . [Lynn] Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“The star of Lynn Shepherd’s intriguing mystery novel is mid-century Victorian London. . . . Her suspenseful story and winning prose ably serve her literary conceit.”—Associated Press
 
“Intellectually enthralling, with dark twists at every turn . . . a haunting novel that will have you guessing until the last pages.”—Historical Novels Review
 
“Lynn Shepherd has a knack for setting literary murder puzzles. . . . This literary magpie-ism is a treat for book lovers, a little nudge-and-a-wink here and there which delights fans of these other works without alienating those who haven’t read them yet. . . . An intelligent, gripping and beautifully written novel.”—The Scotsman
 
“The reader is plunged into a complex but comprehensible labyrinth of deception.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 

About Lynn Shepherd

See more books from this Author
Lynn Shepherd lives near Oxford, with her husband. She studied English at Oxford in the 1980s, and went back to do a doctorate in 2003. In between she spent 15 years in business, first in the City, and later in PR and has been a professional copywriter for the last ten years. She published her first novel Murder at Mansfield Park in 2010. Find out more on www.lynn-shepherd.com.
 
Published May 1, 2012 by Delacorte Press. 353 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The Solitary House
All: 19 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
Apr 15 2012

Shepherd offers an intricate plot and a thousand details of the least-admirable side of Victorian life. A must-read.

Read Full Review of The Solitary House | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Mar 26 2012

Maddox makes some serious missteps, a refreshing change from the typical all-knowing detective...Maddox could well carry a series.

Read Full Review of The Solitary House | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Historical Novel Society

Excellent
Reviewed by Diane Scott Lewis on May 01 2012

I pondered each subtle hint that led to the dreadful conclusion long after I finished the book.

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Red Room

Below average
Reviewed by Holly Weiss on Apr 29 2012

Granted there is original material in The Solitary House but this reader couldn’t help wondering why the author didn’t write her own story in her own style.

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Open Salon

Excellent
Reviewed by Lucy Pollard-Gott on May 02 2012

... this new mystery works confidently on its own, and can be read with pleasure even if one hasn’t read Bleak House. 

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The Daily of the University of Washington

Below average
Reviewed by Sarah Schweppe on Apr 30 2012

The novel succeeds for someone who’s read “Bleak House,” but if a reader isn’t familiar with that work, it may fall flat, as the reader might miss out on many of the allusions.

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The Evening Sun

Excellent
Reviewed by Douglass Daniel on May 02 2012

At its core, Shepherd's book is a historical mystery with a flavor and character all its own.

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BrodartVibe's Blog

Good
Reviewed by Ginny on Apr 03 2012

Kudos to the author for writing what she calls a ‘literary murder,’ and for honoring the work of Dickens.

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Fyrefly's Book Blog

Good
Reviewed by Nicki on Mar 28 2012

The Solitary House does everything that I want my historical mysteries to do.

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Criminal Element

Good
Reviewed by Victoria Janssen on Apr 26 2012

...freely interacting with other fiction in a way that’s both an homage and a metatextual exploration...It’s a very different and much more elaborate novel than I was expecting.

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MyShelf.com

Good
Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

... the outcome was an absolute stunner -- I didn't see it coming and I'll never forget it.

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Book Chase

Good
Reviewed by Sam Sattler on Jun 18 2012

Readers of Dickens will feel right at home in the London so meticulously recreated here by Shepherd.

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Utah Mom's Life

Good
Reviewed by Cindi on Apr 26 2012

Well paced, the plot is thrilling and frightening and just what one wants from a murder mystery.

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A Garden Carried in the Pocket

Below average
May 21 2012

The plot doesn't work all that well for me, and the conclusion has several points that bothered me a bit...

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Gudrun's Tights

Good
Reviewed by Anbolyn on Jun 05 2012

I highly enjoyed the Victorian setting, the description of the gloomy, dirty and seedy London underworld and the glimpse into how the police operated in the 1850′s.

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We Be Reading

Good
Reviewed by Kristen M. on May 14 2012

...this was a wonderful novel that would have made Dickens proud in its exposure and denunciation of some of the myriad injustices of Victorian London.

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Killer Nashville

Good
Reviewed by Clay Stafford on May 13 2012

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.

Read Full Review of The Solitary House

Vyses

Good
Reviewed by Majkia on Mar 30 2012

Her characters are beautifully drawn and the mystery is complex enough that if you do guess some of it, you need to, like Charles, discover all of it.

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Kay's Bookshelf

Good
Reviewed by Kay on Mar 04 2012

I really enjoyed the twist at the end, which I seriously did not see coming.

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Reader Rating for The Solitary House
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