With robust character development, impeccable research, prose that is gritty, realistic, and decidedly Victorian in all its dark hues, Down a Dark River is the perfect historical mystery read.


The Description

An Inspector Corravan Mystery: Book 1
Publication Date: November 9, 2021

In the vein of C. S. Harris and Anne Perry, Karen Odden’s mystery introduces Inspector Michael Corravan as he investigates a string of vicious murders that has rocked Victorian London’s upper crust.

London, 1878. One April morning, a small boat bearing a young woman’s corpse floats down the murky waters of the Thames. When the victim is identified as Rose Albert, daughter of a prominent judge, the Scotland Yard director gives the case to Michael Corravan, one of the only Senior Inspectors remaining after a corruption scandal the previous autumn left the division in ruins. Reluctantly, Corravan abandons his ongoing case, a search for the missing wife of a shipping magnate, handing it over to his young colleague, Mr. Stiles.

An Irish former bare-knuckles boxer and dockworker from London’s seedy East End, Corravan has good street sense and an inspector’s knack for digging up clues. But he’s confounded when, a week later, a second woman is found dead in a rowboat, and then a third. The dead women seem to have no connection whatsoever. Meanwhile, Mr. Stiles makes an alarming discovery: the shipping magnate’s missing wife, Mrs. Beckford, may not have fled her house because she was insane, as her husband claims, and Mr. Beckford may not be the successful man of business that he appears to be.

Slowly, it becomes clear that the river murders and the case of Mrs. Beckford may be linked through some terrible act of injustice in the past—for which someone has vowed a brutal vengeance. Now, with the newspapers once again trumpeting the Yard’s failures, Corravan must dredge up the truth—before London devolves into a state of panic and before the killer claims another innocent victim.

The Review

It’s been two very long years since Karen Odden has released a novel, and I’ve keenly felt the loss. I have been waiting with bated breath for the release of Down a Dark River, the first book in Ms. Odden’s Inspector Corravan Mystery series, and it did not disappoint.

Down a Dark River is a departure from the previous works in Ms. Odden’s repertoire. It is darker, with a serial killer on the loose on the streets and rivers, attacking the upper classes of Victorian Londoners. 

The Scotland Yard Detective on the case, Michael Corravan, an orphan from the rough streets of Whitechapel, is saved from a fated life of penury and violence by a kind woman who sets him on the straight and narrow and helps him find a purpose. 

Prior to being given the river murders, Corravan had been assisting a distraught husband looking for his missing wife. Somehow, he finds these cases may have a link. But how?

Constrained by scandals that had mired Scotland Yard, every step Corravan takes is being watched by his director, a former newspaperman with no experience in law enforcement, and the Review Commission—a Mr. Quartermain in particular—who despises the Yard and can find no value in continuing to support it. 

Corravan is haunted by failing to solve the Le Loup case some years earlier. But as the river murders tick up, he pushes the rules to the breaking point and unleashes old demons, nearly destroying everyone and everything around him.

Ms. Odden transports the reader back in time, making reading an immersive experience while we track a killer through London’s streets and rivers before he kills again.

With robust character development, impeccable research, prose that is gritty, realistic, and decidedly Victorian in all its dark hues, Down a Dark River is the perfect historical mystery read.Buy Links

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About The AuthorKaren OddenKaren Odden earned her Ph.D. in English from New York University and subsequently taught literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books and journals, written introductions for Victorian novels in the Barnes & Noble classics series, and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP). Her previous novels, also set in 1870s London, have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and the recipient of a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Karen lives in Arizona with her family and her rescue beagle Rosy.


Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, November 3
Review at NurseBookie
Book Blast at Novels Alive
Review at Debjani’s Thoughts
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Thursday, November 4
Review at Novels Alive
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss

Friday, November 5
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Tuesday, November 9
Interview at Books & Benches

Wednesday, November 10
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Excerpt at Austenprose
Review at Crystal’s Library

Thursday, November 11
Review at Wishful Endings
Review at Books and Backroads

Friday, November 12
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Saturday, November 13
Review at A Darn Good Read

Monday, November 15
Review at Jessica Belmont

Tuesday, November 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, November 17
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, November 18
Excerpt at I’m All About Books
Review and Excerpt at Older and Smarter

Friday, November 19
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Monday, November 22
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, November 23
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, November 24
Review at Reader_ceygo

Friday, November 26
Interview at Reader_ceygo

Monday, November 29
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, November 30
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 1
Review at Coffee and Ink


Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews



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With robust character development, impeccable research, prose that is gritty, realistic, and decidedly Victorian in all its dark hues, Down a Dark River is the perfect historical mystery read.5-STAR REVIEW: DOWN A DARK RIVER by Karen Odden