Dan Leno And The Limehouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd

Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem
Before the Ripper, fear had another name.

London, 1880. A series of gruesome murders attributed to the mysterious 'Limehouse Golem' strikes fear into the heart of the capital. Inspector John Kildare must track down this brutal serial killer in the damp, dark alleyways of riverside London. But how does Dan Leno, music hall star extraordinaire, find himself implicated in this crime spree, and what does Elizabeth Cree, on trial for the murder of her husband, have to hide?
I love novels set in the Victorian era, they're always some of my favourite books to read as I'm a huge history nerd and the Victorian era has always been my favourite. I'm always in the haunt for new novels set in that era to try so when my mum said she was reading this, I knew I had to give it a try.

The novel opens with Elizabeth Cree's trial for the murder of her husband and from there we flick back and forth to learn more about Elizabeth, her childhood and her time in the music halls of London alongside star Dan Leno. Running alongside Elizabeth's narrative is a series of grim and gruesome murders taking place around London, the murderer has been named The Limehouse Golem and extracts from Elizabeth's late husbands diary seem to point to him as the Golem. The reader is taken along to the bright lights and bustling audiences of the music halls where Elizabeth becomes quite famous, to the dark and dingy backstreets of London and through John and Elizabeth Cree's relationship and finally we end back at the trial with a revelation that I did not see coming at all.

I'll have to admit, I'd not heard of Peter Ackroyd before reading this book but it would seem he's a well renowned author of historical books both fiction and non-fiction. You can tell from the start of this novel the amount of time and research that's gone into this book to give it the authentic feel of a novel from the Victorian era (even though it was published in 1995). I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this book, both in terms of story and style, there's just something really different about it.

I loved the big twist at the end and honestly did not see that coming, that along with it's unique style and authenticity to a novel of that time is what has made this one of the stand out books of the year so far for me. I think it's worth mentioning that this novel is very much written in a way a novel from the 1800's would have been written so it's worth keeping in mind that the style may not be for everyone and it certainly isn't a book that doesn't require much attention. None of this bothered me and it added to it's charm but I know that won't be for everyone.

All in all I throughly enjoyed Dan Leno And The Limehouse Golem and for fans of Victorian fiction I think it's a must read. I'd definitely be interested in seeing what some of Ackroyd's other novels are like.

Rating: ★★★★★

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