J. J. Durham

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Welcome to the world of Detective Sergeant Harry Pilgrim

When London's new Detective Force was set up in 1842, it had an unexpected and very enthusiastic fan - Charles Dickens.  'The most famous man in England' appointed himself the detectives' champion.  He wrote about them in his journal 'Household Words', defended them against accusations of 'un-Englishness', and even accompanied some of the detectives on their adventures.

This was the inspiration for 'An Act of Mercy'.  The hero of the novel - Detective Sergeant Harry Pilgrim - is based on real-life Victorian detective Jonathan Whicher. Some of the other characters were real people, some are fictional.  But the problems they face - prejudice, poverty, and ignorance - were all too real in Victorian society.   

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London 1850.  A city of contrasts.  Of scientific marvels, poverty, disease and death.  When Detective Sergeant Harry Pilgrim discovers the corpse of a woman in a Hackney cab, the case seems straightforward - until the only suspect is found murdered in his cell.     

Pilgrim is hindered in his investigation by his own dark past - a dead son and a missing wife - and also by the well-meaning interference of Charles Dickens, who is serialising Pilgrim's adventures in his journal 'Household Words'. 

The case turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse.  But who is the cat and who the mouse? 


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Charles Dickens decides to take matters into his own hands when he finds his coachman dead in mysterious circumstances. 



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