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Lucy Campion Mysteries Books In Order

Publication Order of Lucy Campion Mysteries Books

A Murder At Rosamund's Gate (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
From the Charred Remains (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Masque of a Murderer (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Death Along the River Fleet (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Lucy Campion Mystery is a series of historical mystery novels by American author Susanna Calkins. A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate, was the first novel published in the series. In a recent interview, Calkins asserted that she never intended to write a series but given the popularity and critical acclaim that the first novel received, she went on to write three titles in the series by 2016. The novels may best be classified as historical mysteries, which is not surprising given that Calkins has a doctorate in British history. Lucy has also asserted that a number of authors have been very critical in shaping her writing style for the Lucy Campion Mysteries. As with many mystery writers, Agatha Christie tops the list as one of the most influential writers whose influence is evident in the series. The series of novels is set in 17th century London at a time of great societal upheaval and change. It is a time when one of the biggest catastrophes of the time happened; the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the Plague of 1664-1665. The novels follow the life of Lucy Campion, a chambermaid turned printer’s apprentice and amateur sleuth as she solves some of the most complicated of murder mysteries in her native London

When we are first introduced to Lucy Campion, she is a chambermaid who becomes interested in investigating crimes that happen in her neighborhood. Lucy had become a local magistrate’s chambermaid at the age of 16, given that she was uneducated and had no other job prospects. Given her thirst for knowledge and learning, she spent her time secretly listening in to lessons given to Master Hargrave’s children, until she learned how to read and write. She becomes so fascinated with the trade of selling and making books that she intends to become a bookseller when her circumstances improve. When she is about 20 years old, she leaves her job and becomes an apprentice to a master printer. While her circumstances may have been unfortunate, they actually make her a better detective. As a servant, Lucy developed the skill of paying attention to small things, listening to people, and moving in and out of places without being noticed. Her time at the printer’s taught her the important skill of taking notes and collating the notes to form theories she could later pursue. Her apprenticeship expands her horizons as she now has more access to the world as compared when she was a chambermaid, enabling her to move freely in her investigative work. Curious about the world and inquisitive in nature, she is not the person to see a person she knew accused of murder and pity them. Rather she would take it upon herself to get out there, investigate, and ensure justice is done.

The Lucy Campion Mystery series is set in the Restoration of England period that saw a lot of socio-cultural, political, religious and economic upheaval. 17th century London is going through a time of radical change following the big fire and the plague. Social norms are not what they used to be with women taking on roles that just a few years past, nobody thought possible. The rise of the Quakers among other religious groups that are challenging the established social order, make it easier for a woman such as Lucy to make headway in previously all male professions such as detective work. What makes these novels so engrossing is the fact that Susanna Calkins is an expert at researching the historical facts of the novel and presenting them so succinctly, yet leave you guessing as to how her mysteries will end. She does a great job at character development, building out Lucy the lead character and the secondary characters Duncan and Hargrave into such complex characters with good background stories and motivations that fits into the overall theme of the novels quite nicely

The first novel in the Lucy Campion Mystery series, A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate is set in 1665 London. The novel is a showcase of 17th century London just before the Great Plague. Lucy Campion is one of the few lucky Londoners to hold a job with a good employer. Her employer is Hargrave, a benevolent magistrate who wants to see her succeed beyond her chambermaid job. When the body of a woman is found stabbed and left naked in a nearby field, Lucy becomes very interested in the case, which she discusses with her employer. Hargrave believes that the crime may be linked to another crime that had come before him a few months earlier. Lucy is soon forced into amateur sleuthing when a fellow female servant is murdered in cold blood. She redoubles her efforts at finding the killer, when William her brother is apprehended and accused of the murder. However, alongside her detective work, she is forced to deal with another life and death matters, when some members of her family present signs of the Black Death. The solution to the crime when it comes is quite bizarre and unexpected, and is sure to leave you dumbfounded.

From the Charred Remains is an excellent sequel to the first novel in the Lucy Campion Mystery series. Just like the first novel, Calkins provides a dearth of historical detail and an intricate plot that keeps the reader enthralled. Set in 17th century London immediately after the Great Fire of 1666, the novel starts on an explosive note when two boys find a man’s corpse inside a wooden barrel, while they are out playing on the rubble of the recent fire. Next to the body in a leather pouch is an unsigned love letter, and some coins. Lucy Campion a former chambermaid of magistrate Hargrave interviews the two boys. She believes that the letter may be or may contain some type of code, which she is determined to crack. While she is now working as a printer’s apprentice, she cannot resist the pull of becoming a detective when such an interesting case comes her way. Calkins throws in some nice historical context and mystique to the story by asking questions about the origin of the letter. Given that England was at war with France at the time, she investigates various theories that posit that France may have had something to do with the Great Fire. This line of thinking offers a nice subplot to what a mystery fan will find to be an excellent murder mystery.

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