Death Makes No Distinction: A Dan Foster Mystery
Two women at opposite ends of the social scale, both brutally murdered.
Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is surprised when his old rival John Townsend requests his help to investigate the murder of Louise Parmeter, a beautiful writer who once shared the bed of the Prince of Wales. Her jewellery is missing, savagely torn from her body. Her memoirs, which threaten to expose the indiscretions of the great and the good, are also missing.
Frustrated by the chief magistrate’s demand that he drop the investigation into the death of the unknown beggar woman, found savagely raped and beaten and left to die in the outhouse of a Holborn tavern, Dan is determined to get to the bottom of both murders. But as his enquiries take him into both the richest and the foulest places in London, and Townsend’s real reason for requesting his help gradually becomes clear, Dan is forced to face a shocking new reality when the people he loves are targeted by a shadowy and merciless adversary.
The investigation has suddenly got personal.
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Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. After gaining an MA in English Literature (with Distinction) with the Open University in 2007, specialising in eighteenth-century fiction, she published her first historical novel, To The Fair Land, in 2012, an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas.
Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016. The second Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, was published in 2017 and was awarded an IndieBrag Medallion in 2018. The third in the series, Death Makes No Distinction, was published in 2019. In 2017 an e-book Dan Foster novella, The Fatal Coin, was trade published by SBooks.
In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes, a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. In 2017 she published a collection of short essays, The Road to Representation: Essays on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign.
Contributions to other publications include:-
‘Not So Militant Browne’ in Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth (Stevenage Museum, 2019)
‘Victoria Lidiard’ in The Women Who Built Bristol, Jane Duffus (Tangent Books, 2018)
‘Tramgirls, Tommies and the Vote’ in Bristol and the First World War: The Great Reading Adventure 2014 (Bristol Cultural Development Partnership/Bristol Festival of Ideas, 2014)
Articles, interviews and reviews in various publications including Bristol Times, Clifton Life, The Local Historian, Historical Novels Review (Historical Novel Society), Nonesuch, Bristol 24/7, Bristol History Podcast, etc.
Lucienne has appeared on television and radio in connection with her fiction and non-fiction work. She regularly gives talks and leads walks about the women’s suffrage movement. She also gives talks and runs workshops on historical fiction for literary festivals, Women’s Institutes, local history societies, and other organisations. She has been a radio presenter on BCfm, and a course tutor.
In 2018 she was instrumental in devising and delivering Votes for Women 100, a programme of commemorative events by the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network in partnership with Bristol M Shed and others. She also campaigned and raised funds for a Blue Plaque for the Bristol and West of England Women’s Suffrage Society.
She is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network, and is also a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Society of Authors, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
She is currently working on the fourth full-length Dan Foster Mystery, and a biography of suffrage campaigner Millicent Browne.
Lucienne was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol.
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Dan Foster, a former fighter, is now a newly-appointed officer at Bow Street, and is thankful to finally have a case he can deal with on his own – the rape and murder of a young woman in a pub’s shed. Unfortunately, he has barely made any headway in the case when he is instructed to work alongside a former rival of his, John Townsend, on the murder of Louise Parmeter, a high society woman, former actress and lover of Prince George.
Right from the start there is friction between the two men, and Dan is bewildered at Townsend’s request to work with him. There has to be a catch, right?
Townsend is hasty in deciding who the murderer is, and doesn’t even listen to Dan’s suggestions. When Townsend is called away, Dan continues with the investigation his way and gets Townsend’s prime suspect released.
Uh oh! Someone was not going to be happy. If Townsend knew Dan was still investigating the first murder too – against his express instructions – there’d be hell to pay.
As Dan gets closer to finding out who Parmeter’s killer is, he has to deal with the snobbish elite who think they can avoid the law, as well as being dragged against his will into a fight to be held before Prince George. He hates being put in that position, although his wife is elated at the thought of royalty being involved.
The story also gives great insight into Dan’s home life, and his relationships with his wife and friends. When his family is drawn into yet another crime, Dan’s mind is elsewhere. Things have suddenly become very personal, and he has to put his family first. And, of course, he does, with everyone pulling together to help.
His mind may have been elsewhere for a while, but when back on the case, and much to Townsend’s dismay, Dan’s investigations lead him to believe the murderer of Louise Parmeter is someone within her circle of acquaintances. Proving his case, though, is never going to be easy, but his dogged determination to pursue the truth is constant.
The story reveals a grimy underbelly of crime in London’s back streets. Slavery, poverty and abuse contrast with the glamour and opulence of High Society. The details are so well-defined, it’s like being drawn into a film set and watching the scenes unfold as an uninvited observer.
This is a well-written story, beautifully told in glorious detail. A great murder-mystery, or rather, two for the price of one featuring both sides of the track. I’d be more than happy to read to more of Dan Foster’s cases as a Bow Street Runner.
I received a copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources. This review is based on my thoughts, and mine alone.
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