Bookish Discussions

The Wicked Cometh | A Lesbian Sherlock Holmes

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Rating: 4 stars

Read: 16 February – 18 February 2019


This was a pleasant surprise.

In short, The Wicked Cometh is a lesbian detective story set in early 1830s London. People are randomly disappearing from the grimy streets of London, and no one can provide a rational explanation for it. Hester White, a poor working-class, who somehow finds her way into the middle-class Brock household, and Rebekah Brock decide to set things right, embarking on a quest to stop these murders.

It’s not often that I find a neo-Victorian novel that I genuinely love. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres to read, and I’m very picky about my Victorian settings, as authenticity is key to me, but Laura Carlin got it spot on. She captured everything, from etiquette to fashion, so perfectly. It was not necessarily Victorian in style; Carlin did not intimate Victorian writing, but focused more on characterisation and setting.

She managed to stay true to the Victorians whilst adding her own twist to their perception. That was, of course, the lesbian relationship. We all know how the Victorian felt about homosexuality (actually, as I’ve learnt from Ruth Goodman, lesbians were not even acknowledged by society), but Carlin made it seem so naturalIt wasn’t forced into the narrative. It was slowly introduced and worked so well within the dynamics of the London Carlin created.

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