Tuesday, April 12, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson

I am now up-to-date on one of the series I’ve started recently. It helps that there are just two books so far and the second one was just released this year.

A while back, I read The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson and was thoroughly entertained, despite some reservations about the protagonist. The new book, The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins continues the story of the wastrel detective after he gained freedom from prison.

It is London in 1728. Thomas Hawkins is now living with his ladylove, who has inherited enough money to permit him to drink and gamble to his heart’s content without fear of returning to debtor’s prison. She isn’t allowed the same freedom to roam, being a woman, but he’s explained that is the way of the world and not his fault. They love each other and that’s all that matters.

Unfortunately, Hawkins is still discontented. He’s bored. In a weak (drunken) moment, he hooks up with an underworld villain and his unexciting but safe life falls apart. He becomes embroiled in another mystery. As the prime suspect in the murder of his neighbor, it’s imperative that Hawkins find the real killer. Also, he has attracted the attention of people in high places, and is hired, against his inclination, to do some work for the Crown.

Thomas Hawkins relies a good deal on his own privilege to wangle himself out of tight spots, but not even gentlemen are allowed to get away with murder. And since he has a great deal of difficulty figuring out who killed his neighbor, things don’t look very promising for Hawkins.

This is another tightly plotted story with a fascinating historical setting. As annoying as I find the protagonist who, unfortunately, has learned nothing from his previous imprisonment, the book is a page-turner. Hawkins is fortunate in surrounding himself with characters who are more impressive than he is. The wonderful supporting cast will bring me back for his next adventure.