Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Devil's Own Handiwork


"I have experienced much hardship and been forced to view death on many occasions. I was therefore, not bothered by the corpse flies. Thankfully, the all-pervasive aroma of spice somewhat mitigated that of decay and corruption. All the same, I entered the room with my handkerchief at the ready. The man was frozen at the point of death upon the bed. There was much blood, all congealed and writhing with maggots. I could make out little else with the curtains shut and so I drew them open. When I turned I could hardly bear to view the putrefaction. He had died in an attitude of abject terror. His eyes were almost entirely eaten away and his mouth showed a grimace so horrific and his posture that of a supplicant forced to bend to another’s evil will, that I thought I looked upon the Devil’s own handiwork." Extract from The Surety, the second book in the Kitty Ives series. Kitty, an 18th century Covent Garden prostitute is forced to solve the murder or swing from the gallows.