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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

Blackmail Is Never a Good Idea

In which we learn no one wants to be on the Thames at low tide


Murder at Traitors’ Gate by Irina Shapiro

Stars: 4


Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.


This is the second in the Bell and Tate murder series and it is being published today. I was thrilled to get my hands on the ARC after thoroughly enjoying the first book in the series, The Highgate Cemetery Murder. 

In this latest installment, we find Detective Sebastian Bell back on the job after convalescing with a broken collarbone he sustained in the previous book. Instead of a dead body in a cemetery, Bell is confronted with a murder victim who has been strung up at the Traitors’ Gate at the Tower of London. And our victim is Jacob Harrow, a journalist who helped Bell’s inquiries with the previous murder. Bell is also still in touch with Gemma Tate, the nurse whose brother was murdered in Highgate, and who helped him solve that crime. Since Harrow was in the Crimea with Gemma, Bell wonders if she might have some insight into his life and maybe why someone might want to kill him. I mean there might be ulterior motives too. Could it be that Detective Bell is ready to fall in love again after the brutal murder of his wife? 


This is a cleverly plotted mystery, tightly written with just the right number of twists and turns and a few red herrings. I always love the second book in a series since we can just jump right into the story since we already have the backstory. Still if you had not read the first one, you wouldn’t be too lost but I would still recommend the first one as it is just a really good read. 


Again, these two books make me realize I know so little about the Crimean War and even Florence Nightingale. I need to find some good books on both!

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