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Check It Out: The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason

This is Jessi Wakefield from the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

What do the writings of Charles Dickens, an assassination attempt of Queen Victoria, and Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of Species all have in common? Well, besides all occurring in the mid 19th century in London, these elements are all the driving forces behind Tim Mason’s newest historical murder thriller, The Darwin Affair.

The main character of our novel is Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field of the Metropolitan Police. Field was a real person who, due to his intelligence and stellar police work, became Charles Dickens' inspiration for his character Inspector Bucket in Bleak House. This fact is brought up several times in Mason’s novel and is in no uncertain terms an issue with our hero, Inspector Field.

The novel opens up in London in June of 1860, London, when an attempt is made on the life of Queen Victoria. Chief Detective Charles Field puts the pieces together to determine why the Queen is being targeted. He quickly realizes that is not the Queen who is being targeted, but rather her husband, Prince Albert--all because he champions Charles Darwin. More specifically, there are powerful forces at work who are unhappy about Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and the Royal support for the famed scientist. This scheme sets off a string of murders, arson, kidnapping, and the pursuit of a madman.

At the heart of this conspiracy is a diabolical killer by the name of the Chorister. I am not giving any spoilers away by stating this. The Chorister, much like say, Hannibal Lecter (with whom he shares several similarities), is a major character introduced very early on.

Contact the Sioux City Public Library to get your copy of The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason, or talk to one of our librarians to get another great historical thriller read-alike.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.