The Dark Lantern: Gerri Brightwell

London, 1893. The Bentleys, Mina and Robert, are recently returned from France and the old Mrs. Bentley is on her deathbed. 32 Cursitor Road is in flux; above stairs and below stairs all is not as it seems. The young Mina Bentley; beautiful, yet elusive, enlists Jane, the new housemaid just hired from the country, to be her eyes and ears below stairs. Both these women have their secrets: Mina, a terrible first marriage that is still haunting her new life and Jane, a dark stain on her past – raised in an orphanage after her mother was hanged for murder. Mr. Robert Bentley is oblivious to the secrets of the household around him, as he is busy establishing himself in the new field of anthropometry (the science of identifying criminals by body measurements). A burglary of the house is the catalyst for a curious chain of events. Unexpected figures re-emerge from the past; a mysterious woman appears claiming to be the widow of Mr. Bentley’s brother arrives and Jane finds that spying has put her in a compromising position. The Dark Lantern is a fast-paced and suspenseful historical fiction and a fascinating portrayal of Victorian life.