*I received an are copy via the publisher in return for an honest review*
Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neil
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Continues…
Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor because Jekyll was Hyde. But as the man goes about charming Jekyll s friends and reclaiming his estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.
This brilliantly imagined and beautifully written sequel to one of literature s greatest masterpieces perfectly complements the original work. And where the original was concerned with the duality of man, this sequel deals with the possibility of identity theft of the most audacious kind. Can it really be that this man who looks and acts so precisely like Dr Henry Jekyll is an imposter?
The perfect mystery novel.
I was delighted to be asked to join the blog tour for this novel. I found it to be very cleverly written. At just 241 pages, it is a quick read and I was engrossed, I read it in just a short few hours! The novel has a beautiful cover and book layout. I am very glad I own a physical copy!
The novel opens with Mr Gabriel Utterson, a bald, bird like lawyer. He is discussing business with Mr Richard Enfield on a foggy London Street. The London setting is atmospheric throughout the novel. They are debating Utterson being the sole beneficiary to the estate of Dr Henry Jekyll, who disappeared nearly seven years ago. They talk of Jekyll’s half-brother Thomas who has recently died.
The next day, Utterson is interrupted by Miss Finnnegan the housekeeper for Jekyll’s empty property, stating she has been ordered from the property by a brute of a butler. Utterson is perplexed, who is this person and why have they taken over the property! The truth about what Utterson wishes to do with the estate is revealed and he storms out of the office to visit the Jekyll residence……….
Upon knocking at the door he is rudely greeted by the butler Baxter, before the door is slammed in his face. He attempts to try his key, only to discover the locks have been replaced! He decides to approach detective inspector Francis Newcomen, as he worked the Jekyll case when he was a young PC. Utterson declare the returned Jekyll as an imposter, a rogue charlatan! Newcomen agrees to visit the property the very next day.
Who is the imposter?
Utterson is completely and utterly baffled by this man claiming to be Jekyll. He calls upon mutual friends and relays his concerns. But when he arrives at the office of sir Palfry Bramble, he discovers Jekyll was just there and Palfry believes him to be the real Jekyll. Utterson recalls social events at Jekyll’s with fond memories. He also faces pressure from Nora, a young woman infatuated with Jekyll and desperate for him to alive. Confused, baffled and refusing to be beaten.
Then Utterson receives an invite to dinner party held by Jekyll…………..
Utterson arrives at the party and comes face to face with the imposter. He notes the physical similarity and tone of familiarity. The other guests Hubert Frost, Chauncey Wiseman, Edmond Keyes, Roderick Godfreys QC, Hubert Tilley and Christopher Piggott all seem convinced this is the return of Jekyll. Not one claims to think otherwise. Throughout the dinner party Jekyll claims to have suffered some memory loss. Which only serves to make Utterson more suspicious. He recalls his research for a chemical formula prior to disappearance. His relationship with Hyde and need for redemption amongst his friends. As everyone leaves Utterson holds back, he threatens the imposter. Informing him he has proof which could demolish Jekyll and his claims.
But the Jekyll imposter is intelligent and an articulate fellow himself………
“I managed to compound a drug… I knew I risked death…. Any drug that to potently shook the very fortress of identity”
“I was aware that I was smaller lighter and younger than Henry Jekyll… Edward Hyde was pure evil”
The following day, like a man possessed Utterson summons Poole. Poole having previously been Jekyll’s butler for 20yrs. However, Poole also seems to disagree with Utterson. The property of the estate and the half a million sterling are all at stake. If only Utterson can prove the imposter for the fraud, he is. He begins by compiling a list of Jekyll’s previous physicians, dentists and chemists.
What he finds is a serious of deaths, missing people and fatal accidents…………..
Utterson searches his safe only to discover his evidential documents astray! “Here then, as I lay down the pen, and proceed to seal up my confession. I bring the life of the unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end” Entrusting the documents to Mr Guest, he feels reassured they will be safe.
When Palfrey Bramble and Edmond Keyes are revealed to be dead. It pushes Uttersons sanity to the brink. He becomes obsessed by recreating the famous Jekyll potion. Dragging Poole and his business partner Mr Slaughter into the case. Utterson begins to sound fantastical and insane. As he recounts his ramblings to anyone that will listen.
He even begins to question his own sanity!
“He would be forever be regarded as mad. But he was not mad. He was not mad! Even if he was the only man in London who knew it”
There are so many theories and accusation, they really kept me on my toes. Utterson is relentless in his pursuit of the truth he knows to be! This is a case that takes you all over London and even to the capital of Edinburgh! It really is the perfect mystery and one I think readers will adore! Perfect for book groups to debate the actions of Utterson and the behaviour of Jekyll. Also to reflect upon the original classic by Robert Louis Stevenson.