Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: London 1890
***I received an ARC of Old Scores from the publisher, Minotaur Books, via NetGalley***
***this post contains affiliate links***
Review: A good, solid historical mystery. Old Scores is book nine in the Barker & Llewelyn historical mystery series by author Will Thomas, and this book takes us back to London and deals with the beginning formation of the Japanese embassy in London. A lot of this book dealt with various history regarding Japan, China, England, and the United States, and a lot of this history I was unfamiliar with, and I wrote lots of items down to look up online. With so much history being discussed, this entry felt a bit slower than other books in the Barker & Llewelyn series. It isn’t that the plot wasn’t moving along or interesting, it was more like I mentally slowed down and thought about all of the different items being mentioned instead of just racing through the book.
After the Japanese delegation arrives, the Ambassador is killed, and Cyrus Barker is arrested for his murder. The book is told from the point of view of Thomas Llewelyn, Barker’s assistant, and Llewelyn is again, a great narrator. He’s not always serious, and he voices his frustration with Barker’s secrecy, and he’s just an all-around likeable guy. You get a bit more of Barker’s background in this book, namely his history in Japan, and I thought this aspect was well done and fitting.
The one problem I had with Old Scores is that I had trouble connecting to any of the red herrings and various characters that arise during the murder investigation. I don’t know if it was a matter of too many characters, or if it was that the characters were all too similar. I didn’t recall any distinguishing characteristics, so was constantly forgetting who was who and what job that person had.
One of my favorite scenes in this book involved a dinner hosted by Ho, an old friend of Barker’s who runs an underground Chinese restaurant in London. At the dinner that Ho is hosting for the Japanese delegation, he serves fugu, and I’ve been fascinated by this fish and the preparation for years, so I was really happy to see this mentioned in the book.
I’m so glad that this series keeps going, as I really enjoy the characters of Barker and Llewelyn, and the various regular characters that appear every so often. While this entry wasn’t my favorite of the series, due to not being able to connect or keep track of all of the suspects, I still enjoyed it and recommend it to those who enjoy historical mysteries.
Bottom Line: A good and solid entry in the Barker & Llewelyn historical mystery series.
Have you read any of the Barker & Llewelyn books? Will we ever learn all of Barker’s mysteries? Does this sound like a good mystery series? Do you enjoy historical mysteries?