I’m so excited to be a part of this book tour! I just want to say thank you to Paste Creative for bringing me on and organizing this tour. When I was told the plot for the book I knew that I was going to enjoy it. I love Jack the Ripper tales. It is so interesting to me the time period but also how horrific these crimes were and that he was never found. Whether he died or just stopped, whether he went to another country or sated his thirst for killing. No one really knows.
So of course I jumped at the change to take part in this tour. I was not disappointed and I can’t wait to share with all of you my thoughts on this book.
A Knife in the Fog
A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle
September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another “crime story.” Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.
Once there, he is offered one month’s employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a “consultant” in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell–Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes–agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.
Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.
The book centers around Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph Bell coming to London to help solve the Ripper murders. With the help of the police, East Enders and Margaret Harkness. The two doctors do everything they can to find the killer.
Right from the first page I fell in love with Bradley Harper’s writing. I generally find period books hard to read. They are often overly flowery with their words and tend to be boring. But not Harper’s. I was a part of the investigation right away loving every second of it. The book is from Doyle’s perspective and I loved the characterization of this real person.
It occurred to me that, ultimately, dignity was not a product of social station; it was a gift available to anyone, but one that only we could bestow upon ourselves.Bradley Harper – A Knife in the Fog
The attention to detail and tying these people into Whitechapel durin this time is superb. I love that this was written in a way that really made you feel like Doyle wrote it himself about his time helping solve one of the biggest murder cases in history. Doyle is written as a gentleman but with a fierce sense of right and wrong. He wants to find the killer because he has a passion for protecting those around him.
Joseph Bell isn’t someone that I knew much about though I did learn that he was the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes before I read this book. I loved the way he is portrayed in this book. He is amazingly smart and observant, which you would expect giving who he inspired, but he’s also compassionate and devoted to his work. He puts his all into the case and it was a pleasure to read about him in this way.
It was only some years later, however, during a trip to America, when I came to appreciate that the entire world had been following the tragic murders within this one blighted district of London.Bradly Harper – A Knife in the Fog
Margaret Harkness however is my favorite of the three. She is one of the best people that I’ve ever read about. Though this is a work of fiction I’d like to think that this was exactly the kind of woman that she was. She was loyal, smart, resourceful, cunning, brave and fearless. She wasn’t the kind of woman to be messed with and it warms my heart to read a woman like her. I loved her wit and her charm. She was just as invested in solving the case as Doyle and Bell.
There are many forms of courage, and I reckoned hers no less than that of a guardsman on the field of battle, except her battle was daily.Bradley Harper – A Knife in the Fog
The story itself was interesting as well. Obviously the particulars are known to most but this book makes you feel like you are learning new things, seeing it from a different perspective. I loved the twist at the end, the big reveal and where you see this work become fiction. It was creative and so well done. I cried at the end but it was such a very perfect ending to the book that I’m so happy to have read it just like that.
Time to visit one of the Ripper’s most recent acquaintances, and see what she could tell us of this man who held the East End, and now the City of London, hostage at knifepoint.Bradley Harper – A Knife in the Fog
I had a hard time choosing which quotes to use because there was just so many that I really loved. I hope the number doesn’t bother anyone, the eloquence of Mr. Harper is something that everyone should enjoy. I can’t praise this book enough, I am so fortunate that I got the chance to read this and be a part of this wonderful tour. I look forward to reading Mr. Harper’s next book, I’m sure it will be just as fantastic as this one.
About the Author:
Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over 37 years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some 200 autopsies, 20 of which were forensic.
Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.
Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.
Queen’s Gambit, the upcoming sequel to A Knife in the Fog will be released in September 2019.