As per most of the books I read, I was attracted to this one because of the gorgeous cover and intriguing title. I also love reading historical fiction, particularly stories set in Georgian times.
London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline 'Caro' Corsham finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Her last words are "He knows". The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly-paid prostitute, but Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself.
Before I started reading Daughters of Night, I discovered that the author had written a 'companion' book called Blood and Sugar, about the slave trade, so I read that first. The two books are not part of a series, but they feature some of the same characters. Blood and Sugar features Caro's husband, Captain Harry Corsham as the main character. In this story, it is Caro who takes centre stage.
Daughters of Night works on two levels: s an incredibly detailed look at the double-standards of the Georgian aristocracy - basically, do what you like provided you don't get caught - and also a deliciously twisty murder mystery. I thought I had worked everything out but the identity of the murderer took me completely by surprise. Another theme is the lack of power that women had in those days. Their wealth and property became their husbands as soon as they married. This is brought home to Caro when her brother cuts off her funding after she fails to do as she's told. She even begins to wonder if prostitutes, despite the obvious drawbacks to their lives, are far more free than she will ever be.
I can thoroughly recommended both books to anyone who enjoys a cracking good mystery, and for fans of authors such as Andrew Taylor and Antonia Hodgson.
Thank you to Laura Shepherd-Robinson and Mantle (Pan Macmillan) for my copy of this book, which I requested via NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.