The Music of the Spheres by Elizabeth Redfern, review

The 18th century was a period of time like no other. It was a time of social, political, and scientific upheaval with cold-blooded and cynical on one hand and touchingly optimistic on the other. The Music of the Spheres, the first novel of Elizabeth Redfern, combines the mystery and history’s elements to produce a masterpiece of period suspense fiction which was set against the French Revolution’s aftermath.

As the monarchy toppled in France, no crowned head in Europe could rest easy without an espionage agents network. And England was no exception, with its own spies and foreign agents’ rumors that infiltrated every walk to lay the groundwork for a French invasion.

The central character of The Music of the Spheres is Jonathan Absey, a Home Office agent, a spy-catcher who had well served his country in hunting down England’s enemies. His peace of mind and his inside track to promotion are destroyed by the murder of Ellie – his 15-year-old daughter, making her killer become his reason for living. He loses his tightrope balance between personal and professional duty as a series of murders of red-haired young women, that is so painfully reminiscent of his daughter, point not only to French spies but also to a sadistic killer in their midst. To solve the mystery of his daughter’s death, he must track down the murderer of the other girls, leading him to a French expatriates group and their British friends, amateur astronomers that hide their personal demons behind a scientific fascination with the solar system’s mysteries. His intuition tells Jonathan himself that this seemingly harmless group of stargazers conceals spies, traitors, and even a psychotic killer.

This historical suspense novel is alive with the sounds and sights of the day with the imagery and characterization bringing 18th century London to life.