The Dastardly Miss Lizzie (Electric Empire)
by Viola Carr
Cover Artist: Gene Mollica
Review by Mel Jacob
Harper Voyager Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062363121
Date: 18 April 2017 List Price $15.99 / $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This steampunk novel is volume three of Viola Carr's Electric Empire trilogy set in nineteenth century London. It evolves from the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and focuses on Jekyll's daughter who fights a similar problem with her alter ego Lizzy Hyde. Major difficulties ensue as Dr. Eliza Jekyll tries to control her alter ego and to solve the problem of the slasher Jack the Ripper. Meanwhile, she also treats herself and the heir to the throne to suppress alternate personalities. Lizzy is equally determined to save her father Eddie Hyde from being tried as the Slasher.
Dr. Eliza Jekyll serves as a police consultant and becomes intrigued by the deaths of some women scientists who have been experimenting with electrical phenomena. The ultimate purpose of one of their potential devices could lead to unlimited energy and time travel. Multiple people are interested in the women's researches and any journals they may have kept.
Lizzy Hyde is a street fighter and pulls no punches as she struggled with Eliza for control of their mutual body. Someone has framed criminal king Eddie Hyde for the Ripper-type murder of his favorite whore. Lizzy suspects a rival crime lord is responsible and is determined to free her father.
Eliza's fiancée, Remy Lafayette, a werewolf and a spy, has returned to France to seek help from an alchemist cabal there. She fears he is under the control of evil French alchemists and she may lose him. However, Lizzy keeps her busy as they each battle for control of their physical body.
For those who haven't read the first two volumes in the series, this novel can be confusing as it interweaves bit and pieces from the two earlier novels. The hectic pace and the switching between personas add to the confusion. The background and the technology provide many opportunities to enrich the story.
Famous people make appearances throughout the novel along with robots and other devices. My favorite is Hipp, her clockwork robotic assistant, shaped as a miniature hippopotamus that follows her around and offers comments and advice.
This volume wraps up the trilogy although not all questions are answered. As Erica Hayes, Viola Carr also writes urban romance novels.