I am a big fan of "The Artful Detective"/"Murdoch Mysteries" television series, and when I noticed these books mentioned in the credits, I asked my library for every one they had. There are seven altogether, of which I received three.
"Under the Dragon's Tail" is the second of the novels. Acting-Detective William Murdoch, of Toronto's 4th Station, is training for a big bicycle race during the upcoming Policemen's Athletic Games. He's also dealing with the death of his fiancée a mere month before they were to marry. So, there's a lot on his mind when he's called in to help investigate the murder of Dolly Shaw. Shaw is the local midwife ... which also means she's the one who helps with abortions.
Shaw's two foster children and her daughter are both implicated in the event, as is a tavern singer, Annie, and a host of other interesting characters.
I enjoyed a look at Murdoch through his creator's eyes; Jennings' Murdoch is much more shy and proper than his television counterpart, but just as quick and clever.
I also enjoyed the setting: 1895 Toronto. A good deal of the action takes place in what is now referred to as the Old Town or the St. Lawrence Neighborhood. In fact, one of the families in the story, the Pedlows, live on Jarvis Street near Church, which is near where I stayed during a visit last year. If I erased the Holiday Inn, I could see the street perfectly as it would have appeared at the time.
I look forward to reading the other two novels that were made available to me.