The Blood Detective links a number of brutal modern crimes to series of grisly murders in 1879 and the wrongful conviction then of an innocent man. As the earlier crimes are mimicked, the book turns to a suspense novel with the police racing against time when they discern the pattern and are able to predict the next murder. Dan Waddell's book works genealogy and London urban history into the tracking of the serial killer and gives us a fascinating look at doing genealogical research in London.
The plot is pretty far-fetched (not that that's unusual, I suppose), and I found the gore and torture a bit overdone (but apparently that's expected these days). There's hardly any tension between the police and the genealogist and only a little between the police themselves, which is a welcome relief from the pattern often found in modern crime writing.
Perhaps the references to archives and documents get a
little tedious, but since the book is aimed, at least in part, at those who are interested in this area, presumably this all has to be there. While there are some references to missing information and the like, I did wonder, however, if research in this area is always quite as effective as it is portrayed to be (or is it that the British records really are good?)
A bit different to a lot of modern crime writing, and interesting reading.