Title: Something Sinister (DS Billings Victorian Mysteries: Book Three)
Author: Olivier Bosman
Publisher: Rocket Man Press
Length: 164 Pages
Category: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: Olivier Bosman has created another amazing installment in the DS Billings Victorian Mysteries series. With Something Sinister, the author took this series to a whole new level.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: On the 21st of November 1890, Julius Dunne-Smythe – a wealthy coffee manufacturer – his wife, his sister in law and his butler creep quietly out of their home in the middle of the night, sneak into a carriage and drive off, never to be seen again.
When a few weeks later Dunne-Smythe’s business partner discovers some discrepancies in the company’s book keeping, Dunne-Smythe is suspected of embezzling the company and running away. The case is swiftly handed over to Detective Sergeant John Billings of Scotland Yard.
As Billings delves deeper into the case, he finds that all the clues to the mysterious disappearance lead back to one man; the enigmatic German butler who had recently been employed by Dunne-Smythe. The butler appears to have had a disproportionate amount of influence on the family. After looking into the butler’s past, Billings discovers a dark and disturbing secret which may well put the lives of Dunne-Smythe and his relatives in danger. What initially seemed like a simple case of theft, now looks like something far more sinister.
This is the third book in the D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand alone novel.
Review: On his way to Scotland Yard, Detective Sergeant John Billings, rescues a stray dog that’s being abused. As the dog is not accepted kindly at the office, Billings has a young helper take her to his rented room at Mrs. Appleby’s. It seems that Billings and the dog have made a connection, something he doesn’t do very well with people.
Billings and his working partner, Samuel Clarkson, become entangled in a case of the missing Dunne-Smythes of Dundsley Manor. Julius Dunne-Smythe, his wife, sister-in-law Emily Carew, and butler Willy Guntz all went missing at the same time. Billings has his work cut out for him, and myriad witnesses: Rachel Kemp, former housekeeper who was dismissed when Guntz came to the manor; Flora Jenkins and Rose, maids still at the deserted manor; Madam Bovlatska, a medium who was summoned by the Dunne-Smythes; Victor McAllister, business partner of Julius Dunne-Smythe; Clarence McAllister, who has an ominous connection to the deceased Alexander Dunne-Smythe; Eugene Dunne-Smythe, a son who was thrown out of the manor for gambling debts; and Alice Dunne-Smythe, who was supposedly sent to France.
As Billings is pulled deeper into the case with every minute clue, he also has to deal with Chief Inspector Flynt, who is a complete doofus and constantly berates Billings. Jeremiah Rook from the Illustrated Police News, who Billings is uncomfortable being around, knows too much about Billings personal life. Even Mrs. Appleby becomes problematic for her constant nagging and hatred of the dog, Tilly. But the most difficult realization Billings has to face is the facts about Samuel Clarkson, the partner he has worked with for years and who, on a personal level, makes Billings feel pathetic at times. He discovers that Clarkson knows about his addiction but has not betrayed him. When Billings begins to realize he has feelings for Clarkson–and that just can’t happen–he does things Clarkson doesn’t like to try to distance himself.
With the help of D.C. Phillips, Billings, Clarkson and Flynt find themselves confronting one of the most horrific crimes and criminals they have ever faced. They’ve headed to the swamps of Burton Mere where their lives are in danger from the swamp alone. When the case comes to a close, Billings is still fighting his feelings for Clarkson. He braves going to Clarkson’s home to see him and be sure he is doing well, but is not welcomed by Clarkson’s wife, and Clarkson is oblivious to what Billings feels. Confusion and hurt follow Billings back to his room, where he has to face the problem that is Tilly.
Olivier Bosman has created another amazing installment in the DS Billings Victorian Mysteries series. He really captures the feel of England in the late 1800s. I liked the use of the language and the take on words such as rib, clocked, renter. This mystery has everything: missing family members, a suicide pact, loss, neglect of children, manipulation, embezzlement, murder, danger, heartbreak, and intricate details of the investigation. What really brought this story to life for me, though, was Billings himself; the author opened up and gave us an in-depth look at his character. Billings is a good detective and a very good person, but he struggles with his emotions which he keeps inside. His worst fear is not knowing how to handle his sexuality; when he begins to feel it’s right to be himself, shame sets in. And on top of that, he has so much to deal with—his job, his boss, Clarkson, Mrs. Appleby and her sister, and the chaos of so many emotions that are difficult to deal with. People don’t understand him, and take his seriousness, shyness and uncertainty for being rude. In trying to get a handle on his emotions, he uses morphine as a crutch to hide more than just physical pain.
I so want another story, and I hope Billings will find some type of happiness. With Something Sinister, Olivier Bosman took this series to a whole new level.
You can buy Something Sinister here: