The Midnight Man by Julie Anderson

 A couple of months ago, I read an advanced copy of Julie Anderson's new book, The Midnight Man. I read her previous series, the Cassandra Fortune series, which was fantastic and I was eager to read more for this author. Here is the blurb and my review! 

Winter 1946

One cold dark night, as a devastated London shivers through the transition to post-war life, a young nurse goes missing from the South London Hospital for Women & Children. Her body is discovered hours later behind a locked door.

Two women from the hospital join forces to investigate the case. Determined not to return to the futures laid out for them before the war, the unlikely sleuths must face their own demons and dilemmas as they pursue - The Midnight Man.

 Julie Anderson is the CWA Dagger listed author of three Whitehall thrillers and a short series of historical adventure stories for young adults. Before becoming a crime fiction writer, she was a senior civil servant, working across a variety of departments and agencies, including the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Unlike her protagonists, however, she doesn’t know where (all) the bodies are buried. 

She writes crime fiction reviews for Time and Leisure Magazine and is a co-founder and Trustee of the Clapham Book Festival. 

 She lives in south London where her latest crime fiction series is set, returning to her first love of writing historical fiction with The Midnight Man, to be published by Hobeck.

My Review

The Short Story: Post WWII Historical Murder Mystery

WWII is over but a new battle begins for England’s women, trying to hold on to their new role as breadwinners in a society that expects them to give way to the returning servicemen. This doesn’t sit well for Faye Smith and Ellie Peveril, two strong women with a taste for the freedom a job brings. Faye runs in the canteen of a women’s hospital, the South London Hospital for Women and Children in Wandsworth. Ellie is a law clerk just returned from the Nuremberg trial. The lives of the two collide in a moment of desperation. The pair bond and begin working together. When a nurse is found murdered at the entrance of a nearby bomb shelter, their curiosity is roused and they investigate the circumstances of her death. Little do they know the trouble they are about to bring on themselves.

This book is equal parts historical fiction and murder mystery. From a historical standpoint, it tells the story of women struggling to keep the independence gained during the war years. It was also interesting to read about an all-women’s hospital, run almost entirely by women. As a nurse, I was interested in the treatment of tuberculosis during this period (a subplot in the story) and the experimental treatment with antibiotics.

The mystery was intriguing but not what I would consider a ‘sit on the edge of my chair’ thriller. As the women work to solve the murder, putting together clues that the police officers ignore, they prove their value even as they put their lives in danger. There is a satisfying resolution for both the women and the mystery, and a sweet romance to top it off.

I recommend this story to readers of historical fiction, readers who enjoy strong female leads, and a good murder mystery.


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