Book Review: Death Descends on Saturn Villa

Death Descends on Saturn Villa by MRC Kasasian, The Gower Street Detective #3

London: 1883 

125 Gower Street was once a house of justice, truth and perspicacity. Now madness, murder and scandal lurk in its empty halls. It is rumoured that its owner Sidney Grice - London's foremost personal detective - has been driven to the brink of despair. 

But, as will all good stories, we must begin at the beginning. With Sidney Grice journeying to Yorkshire to solve a mysterious death. And with March Middleton, his ward, left to her own devices in a London swarming with danger and vice. 

Curiosity, as we know, has a dark edge. So when an intriguing letter leads March to the gates of the palatial Saturn Villa, and into the nightmarish world of her long-lost uncle, it could be the beginning of an end, for all... 

If you haven't heard about the enigmatic, quirky and rather peculiar detective duo Grice and Middleton you must have been living under a rock. Just about two years ago Head of Zeus published the first book in the Victorian detective series, The Mangle Street Murders, by Martin Kasasian. It was a blast for me. Which Martin Kasasian proved once again with it's sequel The Curse of the House of Foskett. He did leave the sequel with a major cliffhanger, which I had been dying to find out on how it could possible work out in the third book Death Descends of Saturn Villa. And wow, once again Martin Kasasian manages to awe me once more. I am going to repeat myself, if you havent heard of the detective duo Sidney Grice and March Middleton, I don't know where you are from but I do know that you are missing out on something good. 

Now where did Martin Kasasian leave the story in The Curse of the House of Foskett, well March received a letter with information regarding her ward, I still won't spoil just what but it is big! Death Descends on Saturn Villa ( shortend to Death Descends), picks up directly after said event. March has become much more aware of her ward Sidney Grice and takes much more caution with the everyday actions. In the beginning of this story Sidney receives a new case which unfortunately only he is able to examine and thus March finds herself forced to do other things, boring things. But one day March receives a letter that strikes her curiosity. The letter is an invitation to Saturn Villa by her uncle Tolly, only March never knew that she had an uncle, perhaps due to the mystery behind the letter or because she hasn't really got anything to do she accepts the invitation and heads out to Saturn Villa for a chat and a dinner with her uncle. Well March will soon regret that she made this choice of meeting her long lost uncle Tolly. Tolly kindly persuades March to sign some papers and have dinner but when March sleeps the night in Saturn Villa things start to turn weird. A murder takes place, an unexplainable murder. And March is right in the middle of it all, and frankly can't remember everything for the full hundred percent. Well March can't really place it all and suddenly march life is in danger and just barely makes it out of Saturn Villa alive. Luckily for March, Sidney Grice takes this case of to the highest importance and returns to Saturn Villa with March in tow. Where they both make very shocking discovery. You can pretty much say that is the biggest and most dangerous case so far. The event describe above is only the start of a very eventful case for this enigmatic duo.

it's kind of hard to really delve deeper into the story without revealing to much, even though this book is just shy about 500 pages. What makes this installment in The Gower Street Detective so unique is the way that Martin Kasasian uses the layout of the book. If you are familiar with the earlier book you know that they are written from the perspective of March Middleton. Well in Death Descend things takes on a turn for the different. Granted there is still the perspective of March but also that of Sidney Grice for the very first time. Let me rewind a bit. The layout of Death Descends is divided into four different parts, that of the general story as explained above, a part where you only follow Sidney and two parts, during and post of March. Telling the story in this way pretty much left me speechless. When I came to the ending of the combined story there were still many pages the go and was curious as to what would follow next. The parts of Sidney and March were just marvelously done. I already tweeted a few days ago that the cover is awesome and inspires so much ambiance to the series and this book but the way that the story was written even further builds on this. The ending with the postscript, well that was captivating.

I already mentioned that Martin Kasasian left the last book on a cliffhanger moment. I was eager to see who the relation between Sidney and March would unfold. This brings me to character development. In the first two books there has been a lot of it, great interplays between the two and a lot of learning moments. More for March than for Sidney. Let's begin with Sidney first, just to say it straight away and rather bluntly he is an ass, but a good one, even though a lot, well everything has to follow his rules, he is most of the times correct. He has an observant nature even with only one eye. And you most certainly not want to have him against you. When I read his personal story I actually got to know a lot more about his character, which gave me a much better and clearer picture of to who Sidney really is. Now for March, the star of the show. Life in Death Descends isn't easy. Yes she still makes hasty mistakes, is it for eagerness, ignorance or driven by the fact of what was in the letter she received in the last book. That is for you to answer. Since Death Descends focuses strongly on March not just the case at hand but what goes underneath the shroud that March has over her makes her just as with Sidney an amazingly rich character. She goes from being the cheery March to the out of luck and sad March, Martin Kasasian puts her character through a real emotional roller coaster. I said it from the start I love this duo and still do, they offer just so much dynamic.

Death Descends on Saturn Villa is one of those books that is just over to soon. The way that Martin Kasasian executed this was just spot on from the general story to the personal accounts offered a very nice pacing to the story and kept on intriguing me. This is one of those books where you will make sure you are not disrupted while reading and that you will want to finish asap. This is not just your supernatural murder case investigation in the Victorian time setting. It is much more. The backgrounds of the character especially March and the emotional roller coaster Martin Kasasian throws her in really elevate this story head above shoulder. Again. If you aren't reading these books you are definitely missing out on something big. The ending is once again most interesting. Let see where Martin Kasasian takes his story next!


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