Reviewsday: The Diabolical Miss Hyde

...Corsets, Clockwork, Alchemy  & Murder...

I'm relatively new to steampunk fiction but this is one the best I've read so far. This juicy twist on the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde classic is the perfect blend of crime, romance and fantasy.

9780062363084The Diabolical Miss Hyde features Dr Eliza Jekyll - a medical doctor, forensic investigator, and all around proper young lady- and her shadow-self Lizzie Hyde, who is all about sex, alcohol and danger. Together Eliza and Lizzie have to solve a series of murders, dogged by the shadows of their past, the murderer they are chasing, the Royal Society and their mysterious benefactor.

Carr gives Eliza and Lizzie two distinct personalities which gives the story a truly interesting dynamic. You have prim lady-like Eliza- all buttoned up, never a hair out of place, hearing Lizzie's voice in her head like a continual buzzing bee. Then you get Lizzie- confident, sexy and brash with what seems like a cockney accent (in my head anyway). The constant struggle for control over each other is sometimes amusing, sometimes sad, but you definitely get a clear picture of one person with a fractured identity, struggling to maintain their sanity and still be free all at the same time.

Because Eliza and Lizzie are such different characters it's pretty obvious that their tastes in men are going to be SO different. Enter the one love interest they can agree upon...Captain Remy Lafayette of The Royal Society. Given that in Carr's richly imagined clockwork Victorian world, magic is strictly outlawed and is heavily policed by the Royal Society the fact that the charming Remy Lafayette has been assigned by the Royal to aid in her murder investigations causes Eliza no end of stress (and Lizzie no end of glee). But Captain Lafayette has a dark secret of his own...

Throughout the adventure to 'catch the killer' and 'save the day' you meander down a few dark alleys - Who is Eliza's benefactor? What's the story with Razor Jack? Will Eliza ever be rid of Lizzie? - but coming to the end of the book you find yourself wondering if it really is the end... and you will be thinking please, please, please let there be a sequel!