The Lamplighter by Anthony O'Neill

The Lamplighter

Anthony O'Neill

A chilling mystery set in a macabre Edinburgh. The atmospheric prose draws you into a Victorian melodrama where a working class girl battles true evil whilst a meticulous detective shines the light of his knowledge in the crevices of the criminal world. A sumptuous emulation of classical gothic literature.

Extract

She bolted for the stairs but halfway down Ainslie gathered her up and attempted to soothe her.
'Eve? What's wrong?' But he himself was shaking.
She told him a man had got in her room.
'A man?' He exuded fear like a mask.
'In my room!'
'Well who do you think it might be, Eve?'
She could not answer ....
She turned and froze with disbelief when she saw the man, standing on the far side of her bed, his face gilded by the candlelight. He had a pointed beard, and a peaked cap, a blue fustian jacket and grey scarf, and his emerald eyes seemed to shine with all the lamps of Edinburgh.
She gasped in astonishment and his face creased with genuine compassion.
'It's me Eve,' he affirmed 'It's Leerie ....' His whisper was light as gossamer and the sincerity of his affection manifest.
He beckoned her forward and she moved trance-like into the room. Ainslie shut the door behind them and twenty years later the streets were red with blood.

Parallels
  • An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
  • The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin
  • Sherlock Holmes Titles by Arthur Conan Doyle