Book Review: Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

Posted March 6, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian
Genres: British, Historical, Detective, Mystery
on May 17, 2016
Pages: 375
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: The Yard, The Yard, The Black Country, The Black Country , The Devil's Workshop, The Harvest Man

Fifth (and last, I think) in the Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad British historical detective mystery series and revolving around Inspector Walter Day. It’s set in spring 1891 in London.

My Take

Omigod…you’ll crack up at Grecian’s re-appearance in the world. I gotta say Day was quite the entrepreneur, in his recycling business. Don’t ask. It’s disgusting.

There is plenty going on. Walter is lost in his head, needs to earn a living, and is afraid of his kidnapper who keeps popping up. Newly widowed, Hatty is embracing the possibilities and having such fun being a detective. Claire is coping with four children and no husband and dealing with her cretin of a father. Grecian gets Nevil’s frustrations across quite well. The Parkers…eeek…Grecian has created a truly nasty couple in the Parkers. All those thoughts Mr Parker has are terrifying, particularly with reference to his partner, and yet he loves, loves, loves her, even as he ties her up to keep himself safe. Interestingly, we don’t get Mrs Parker’s perspective but her words, and those are even more terrifying. As for Jack…as horrible as he is, he is surprisingly not as creepy as Mrs P.

“Because he’s no doubt off doing something more fun … Something gooey, like slitting open a serving wench and turning her on a spit over a crackling fire. Watching the fat roll down the skin of her thighs and sizzle on the coals.”

Day’s inability to remember his past was annoying, if only because he was in such denial and because of that ending… Nor do I understand why Jack wants him. Oh, I have plenty of guesses, but I want to know what Grecian thinks.

There are a number of points where I’m confused. Day sounds as if he’s truly lost his memory and yet later on in the story, it sounds a’purpose. Then there’s the end with Dr Kingsley, and I’m wondering which was the end. The one in the alley or the one in his bed?

It’s interesting that Grecian does so well in conveying the manners and mores of the time period, until he slips up with Beatrice Kingsley being at university. It’s pretty radical for a woman to attend college in this time.

Nevil is an idiot. And his actions make me think that Grecian isn’t actually done with this series. He’s done so well in tidying things up, but Nevil’s proposal — to the wrong woman and for the wrong reason — makes me think Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad still has life ahead.

It’s that third person global subjective point-of-view that provides perspectives from so many different characters, providing so much background into their thoughts and emotions. And all those secrets…

The Story

Employed by the parent-beleaguered Claire, Nevil has been spending every minute of every day searching for Walter, even as Jack is busy brainwashing Walter and tidying up members of Kartsphanomen.

A Jack who hides in plain sight.

The Characters

Inspector Walter Day went missing one year ago. Claire is his wife who had given birth to twins — Winifred and Henrietta — shortly before Walter disappeared. She has also published a book of poetry under the pen name Rupert Winthrop. Her adopted boys are the worried Robert and Simon (The Harvest Man, 4). Tabitha is the new governess…who probably won’t last. Arthur Day is Walter’s father and a valet.

The manipulative and wealthy Leland Carlyle, her absolute jerk of a father, is from Devon. His wife, Eleanor, bends to him.

Anna is the heroine in Claire’s new story, The Wandering Wood. Other characters include Peter; Marionette Puppet, a.k.a., Mary Annette; Babushka is a Russian doll; the Kindly Nutcracker; Rocking Horse; and, Jack.

Esther Paxton, Walter’s new landlady, is a draper running a clothing shop. Ben is her deceased husband. The bright Ambrose is a fourteen-year-old homeless boy, brilliant at chess. Jerome is another one of the gang.

Former Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith was fired and opened his own detective agency, the Hammersmith Agency. He employs the affordable Eugenia Merrilow as a secretary; the thrilled Hatty Pitt becomes a detective (both ladies appeared in The Harvest Man). Timothy Pinch is Hammersmith’s roommate and working with Dr Kingsley.

Blackleg, who has aided Nevil in the past, is at the center of certain crime rings in London.

Plumm’s Emporium is…
…modeled on Harrod’s and owned by John Plumm, entrepreneur. Joseph Hargreave, a.k.a., Kitten, is his lieutenant/manager. Mr Oberon is the manager who takes Hargreave’s place. The very deaf Alastair Goodpenny sold his kiosk and invested in Plumm’s (The Harvest Man). Mr Swann splits. Gregory is a guard.

Dr Richard Hargreave is Joseph’s worried brother. Ruth Ruskin is a neighbor of the Hargreaves.

Scotland Yard
Sir Edward Bradford is the commissioner of police; Elizabeth is his wife. The number of inspectors on the Murder Squad have doubled in this past year and include Jimmy Tiffany, Michael Blacker, and Tom Wiggins. Sergeant Kett continues to act as liaison between the constables and inspectors. Sergeant Fawkes can stand in for him.

Dr Bernard Kingsley is the official forensics examiner for the Metropolitan Police, busily introducing scene of crime methods, and teaches at the University College Hospital. Fiona Kingsley, the doctor’s daughter, is a brilliant artist who once worked for her father and now sketches witness descriptions for Scotland Yard, and she has been illustrating Claire’s books. Catherine had been Fiona’s mother; she died of consumption. There is an older sister, Beatrice, away at university.

Constable Colin Pringle had been murdered in The Yard, 1.

The Kartsphanomen are…
…a society of men from all levels of society dedicated to meting out justice…with eye-for-an-eye punishment along the way. The naive and hypocritical high judge takes too much into his own hands.

Jack the Ripper, a.k.a., Saucy Jack, is terrifying. Mr and very psychopathic Mrs Parker are a cold pair of fish…and assassins. There is some confusion as to if the missus is his daughter, his partner, and/or his lover. Hmmm, she can’t be his daughter as he mentions early in the story that they played together as children.

Jim has an in with a puppet show. Potter-Pirbright is a valet at Carlyle’s gentlemen’s club.

The Cover and Title

The gray cover is a fog, a metaphysical reference to Claire and Walter, as they stumble through the mists, and may be Lost and Gone Forever. It’s also a scene from within the story, of chairs scattered in the fog, a man’s silhouette on the right. The title is at the top in a white ghostly serif font, a chalkline underlining each word. Below that, in black, is the series information. At the bottom is the author’s name using the same white font as the title. Beneath that, in white, is an info blurb.

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