Title: Sanguine Solutions
Series: The Simon Pearce Mysteries: Book Three
Author: Jess Faraday
Publisher: Blind Eye Books/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 76 Pages
Category: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: Jess Faraday is so accomplished at writing star-crossed lovers and yet not leaving readers feeling as if we’ve missed out on a romantic element in her stories. In this case, it just happens to be a poignant tone which endeared Simon to me all the more.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Series Blurb: Constable Simon Pearce doesn’t believe in love. It’s a dangerous proposition for many people in 19th century London, but for an ambitious copper climbing Scotland Yard’s greasy career ladder, it’s out of the question.
He doesn’t believe in monsters, either, though there seem to be a lot of them about. Whether it’s a ghost haunting a London churchyard where men seek men’s companionship, a phantom hound in Edinburgh that’s hell-bent on revenge, or a murdered businessman on a cross-country train who just won’t stay dead — the mysterious has a way of finding Pearce, whether he wants it to or not.
But are these happenings truly supernatural? Or is something worse — something thoroughly human — to blame?
Pearce has his theories — about crime, about monsters, and about love. But life has a way of testing even the most carefully considered ideas. And as he chases mysteries from one end of Britain to the other, he may just have to reconsider his ideas about all three.
Review: Sometimes the title of a book couldn’t be more accurate if it tried. Sanguine Solutions is such a title. Not only does Constable Simon Pearce become involved in a case where the word ‘sanguine’ has a quite literal use in the crimes and their investigation, but the alternate meaning of the word—optimism and hopefulness—while not immediately evident in this chapter of Simon’s life, became slightly more so in the second story, The Sheriff of Penbreigh, when he settles in a new place, makes new acquaintances, and, following the apprehension of a murder suspect, follows through on a decision which encompasses an ethical gray area between what is lawful and what is right.
As with the previous vignettes in the series, the numinous elements suggested in the crimes Simon sets out to investigate are not there to overshadow practical realism but to serve as a challenge for him to explain what, on the surface, appears to be the inexplicable. An apparent case of ritualistic bloodletting mingling with reports of vampires in London challenges Simon on more than merely a professional level when his investigation leads him to a bookshop owner named Vincent Peters while attempting to track down the origins and intent of a tome which the puritans of the time would have labelled an obscenity of the highest magnitude. A book that happens to have been discovered in the home of a person of no small amount of influence.
Meanwhile, Simon and his erstwhile lover Callum Webster have begun a correspondence since Simon’s horrible blunder and hasty departure from Edinburgh, but the tone and definition of their relationship is no longer defined by what Simon had hoped would be, if not love, at least of a mutually fond nature. It appears Cal has moved on, however—with every man in Edinburgh—leaving Simon heartsore and resigned to his loneliness. Jess Faraday is so accomplished at writing star-crossed lovers and yet not leaving readers feeling as if we’ve missed out on a romantic element in her stories. In this case, it just happens to be a poignant tone which endeared Simon to me all the more.
The series takes on a bit of an erotic tone in The Blood Is the Life which, for Simon, is in and of itself a danger. It is a case of actions having consequences, is the first time he’s left a case unsolved, and, in the end, he is forced to leave behind his ambitions of moving up in the ranks of Scotland Yard, setting off for parts unknown. As it turns out, this is not a misfortune for Constable Pearce as much as it is an opportunity to build new friendships in the farthest place from London he could travel to…that was not Scotland and Cal. Simon ends up in Penbreigh, by way of Bodmin, and is not only newly anointed as the village’s Detective Sergeant but, along with meeting Theo Penrose, has the fortunate effect of providing a bit of optimism that Simon has perhaps found a place where he belongs, a place to protect and call his own.
But, then again, I will never presume to second guess what the author has up her very capable sleeve for Simon, either. Suffice it to say that the end of this set of stories feels very much as though he may have found a place to set down roots for a bit. What will truly happen, though, remains to be seen. If his actions to date are an indicator, Simon has a tendency to uproot at a moment’s notice. However things go, I have full confidence that Faraday will make it worth the journey as the end of the series draws nearer.
You can buy Sanguine Solutions here:
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