Review: A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland


A photographer in Whitechapel, London, Sarah Bain is also a private detective—skilled at capturing others’ dark secrets, and expert at keeping her own. When a wealthy banker, Sir Gerald Mariner, posts a handsome reward for finding his missing infant, all of London joins in, hoping to win that money for themselves. Usually discouraged by a saturated market, Sarah is instead curiously allured as she realizes the case hits much closer to home than she first thought.

As she dives in, she discovers a photograph of baby Robin Mariner and his mother. But it eerily resembles the post-mortem photographs Sarah, herself, takes of deceased children posed to look as if they were alive. Now it’s unclear whether the kidnapping is a cover-up to hide the reality of his disappearance, or if it’s truly a cry for help.

The clock is ticking and Sarah must uncover the truth before her past catches up to her in A Mortal Likeness, the gripping follow-up to bestselling author Laura Joh Rowland’s The Ripper’s Shadow.


This was a fast-paced whodunnit full of enough twists to give you whiplash!

It is the second in a series and while it took me awhile to catch up with what has happened, it reads just fine as a stand alone.

You will be questioning each suspect, then believe in their innocence, then will find more reasons to think they’re guilty over and over again! This whodunnit changes directions rapidly, and will give even the best detective readers a run for their money.

This story read a bit like YA, but the storyline and cliffhanger conclusion definitely captivated me so that I’ll be back for more. I would even love to go back and read the first in this series to get to know the characters a bit better.

A very minor complaint is that, while set in Victorian England, the dialogue was pretty modern. I love me some Victorian language and this didn’t feel entirely authentic to the period.

3.5 stars. Recommend to mystery readers!

Thank you to Crooked Lane for a copy of my ARC!


  1. Holly B / Dressedtoread · December 7

    Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

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