It’s my stop today on the blog tour for The Contraband Killings by Lucienne Boyce. Many thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite.
Title: The Contraband Killings (Dan Foster Mystery #4)
Author: Lucienne Boyce
Published on: 18 September 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Contraband Killings is the fourth book in Lucienne Boyce’s Dan Foster Mystery series.
Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is sent on a mission to Wales. His mission is to collect a smuggler named Watcyn Jones from the Beaumaris Gaol on Anglesey, and bring him back to London for trial. Constable Goronwy Evans is to accompany Dan as an interpreter and assistant. It’s just a routine assignment and shouldn’t take more than a few days.
The duo reach Anglesey and talk to Sir Edward Lloyd Pryce, a magistrate. Dan tells him that he plans to take Watcyn to London the next day. But, the prison escort is ambushed and Watcyn Jones escapes. Before he was taken out of prison, Watcyn Jones promised to kill all the officers involved in his arrest. As Jones’ enemies (officers who arrested him) start to die, the chase becomes more urgent than ever. Dan must find Jones before the body count rises.
What a fantastic, well-written, mind-blowing and completely engrossing historical mystery! I absolutely loved every bit of this story. Though a fourth book in the series, I had no trouble following the character development as the readers are given a gist of Dan’s past.
As I reading through, it felt like a movie playing in my head. Be it the setting or the characters or the mystery behind the murders, this is one of the best historical fictions I have ever read.
The story begins with Dan Foster being assigned to bring a prisoner back to London. A young and inexperienced constable will be accompanying him as an interpreter and assistant. Dan also seems to be going through a bout of marital problems. He and his wife seem to have problems – more since his illegitimate son was brought to him a few months ago. The wife is also following the path set by the local clergyman; the clergyman believes the illegitimate son is a sin and must pay his dues. It’s just a two-year-old child but Caroline (Dan’s wife) has no love for the child.
Dan must first interfere in the going-ons of his wife and bring the clergyman to his senses. He follows the clergyman to a brothel and coerces him to sign a confession. Dan then returns home and leaves for Wales with constable Evans.
At Wales, they meet the local magistrate Sir Edward and speak to him of their plans. Captain Williams, a close friend of Edwards, also speaks to the duo and learn of their plans to escort the prisoner. But during the escort, they are ambushed and the prisoner escapes. Soon, officers who were involved in Jones’ arrest start to die. As Dan starts to investigate, he stumbles across a smuggling ring operating on the island.
One side story that caught my attention was Sir Edward and his personal life. There was something mysterious about the man – and Dan observes something about Sir Edward and his wife soon after his arrival.
We also have a shocking twist. I did not see this coming. As the case proceeds, it becomes clear to Dan and to the reader that people are not who they claim to be. And the case takes such an interesting turn that I was sure that a certain character is involved. Turns out, I was not on the right side of sleuthing. Ahem. 😉
I loved the storytelling and the character portrayals. As I have already mentioned above, it felt like a movie playing in my head. Hopefully, someday, they will turn this series into a TV or Movie adaptation. Fingers crossed!
If you are looking for an intense, packed, adventurous and engrossing historical mystery, I recommend you to give The Contraband Killings by Lucienne Boyce a try.