‘Keeping Bad Company’ is the 5th novel in the Liberty Lane series by Caro Peacock. Liberty Lane is a Private Investigator in early Victorian London.
Liberty is carrying out an assignment at a diplomatic gathering when her work is rudely interrupted by a young man. The young man is Tom Fraternity Lane, Libby’s younger brother who she hasn’t seen for 7 years. He is concerned about her reputation as she is unattended in public.
Tom works for the East India Company and has been stationed in India for many years. He is in London for an enquiry. A wealthy trader’s assistant has been murdered and Tom is a witness in the case. He fears that his evidence may condemn his friend Mr Griffiths who he knows to be innocent.
It seems that the only way to save Mr Griffiths is to identify the real murderer. This is just the sort of case that Libby loves but can she find out who committed the murder 6 months later and thousands of miles away?
The more that Libby finds out about the case, the more she is repulsed by the activities of the East India Company and various independent merchants. They have long been in the process of stealing land and valuables from the Indian people to satisfy their own greed. Now they are heading to war with China over the right to supply Opium.
To solve the case, Libby must deal with the people she most detests while trying to convince her brother that she is capable of caring for herself in England.
But not everyone is who they initially appear to be. Soon Libby fears for her own safety as well as that of her close friends. It is in unmasking the people involved that Libby is able to find out what is going on.
This was another enjoyable and action packed Victorian thriller, although not my favourite in the series. This story introduced a whole new class of rogue in the British who occupied and exploited India at the time.
Tom ended up being a fairly likeable character and it was good to see him in love for the first time. I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series – ‘The Path of the Wicked’.
Book Published 2012