This is my first Laura Joh Rowland book, but it will not be my last. Photographer Sarah Bain is awoken by a tap on her window by a source that sends her to photograph a crime scene. When she arrives at the scene with her friends Mick and Hugh, she finds a gory scene that is thought to be a suicide. However, there are signs that foul play might be present. First of all, the victim, Harry Warbrick is hung, but ended up decapitated in the process. He is the owner of a pub, but also serves as a hangman at the local prison. Furthermore, it is discovered that there is something missing from his pub that has to do with his latest hanging. This execution was the hanging of Amelia Carlisle, who was known as the "Baby-Butcher." She had been convicted of baby farming- taking in babies to send to new homes, but killing them instead.
Sarah's boss, Sir Gerald- head of the Daily World, assigns her to investigate this murder and basically challenges the police to a contest of who can solve the mystery first. Investigation of the murder mainly focus on the people present at Amelia's hanging. Conveniently, they are all bound by The Official Secrets Act- which prevents the 7 people from divulging anything that happened at the execution.
In addition to the mystery of who killed Warbrick, there are many subplots- Sarah's relationship with one of the police investigating the murder, a fame hungry reporter, Sarah's missing father and other family secrets. This book is set in Victorian London.
I received this book from NetGalley. (Thank you!) It is published by Crooked Lane Books and will be published in January of next year.