September 2016

A PILGRIMAGE … In search of William Tyler and Ralph Joscelyne

In the 1830s, the problem of burying the dead had reached crisis point in London. The rapidly increasing population meant that existing graveyards and crypts were – literally, in some cases – full to bursting. One such example was the nightmarish Enon Chapel in Clement’s Lane. An unscrupulous clergyman had come up with a scheme for bargain burials. These may have been at a knock-down price, but they were not burials. The body of your loved one would simply be tipped into the crypt below the chapel, to join countless others. The enterprising minister was also of accused of recycling the wood from the coffins to sell to the poor for kindling. The crypt was only separated from the chapel above by a flimsy wooden floor, through which all kinds of noxious gases and vile insects would pass, to plague the worshipers as they sat down in the pews to praise the Lord. Even more bizarre was the conversion of the chapel to a dance hall, where customers could literally dance on the dead.


Eventually, the authorities decided that enough was enough, and began the business of commissioning seven huge new cemeteries outside if the inner city boundaries. Highgate and Kensal Green are the best known of these, principally due to the numbers of famous people buried within, but it was to one of the lesser known of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ that I traveled, on a pilgrimage to visit the graves of two people who certainly made the headlines in their day, but are largely forgotten now.


You can read the story of The Tottenham Outrage elsewhere on the site but, briefly, on Saturday 9th January 1909, two Latvian anarchists ambushed the wages delivery for the Schnurmann Rubber Factory on Chestnut Road in Tottenham and made off with the loot, firing at their pursuers with sophisticated automatic pistols. Both criminals died as a result of their efforts, but a policeman and a young boy were killed in the chaotic chase.

The cold blooded murder of PC William Tyler caused a national outcry, and his funeral was a public event on a grand scale. The deaths of police officers in the course of their duties have always been thought shocking in Britain and, happily, they remain rare events. PC Tyler was laid to rest in Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington. Fortunately for the visiting explorer, his simple but imposing memorial is near the path, and is easily found. The number carved on the pediment is, of course, his police number.


Just a few feet away from Tyler’s grave is a rather humbler cross which marks the grave of an even more tragic casualty of the madness of 9th January 1909. Like countless others before and since, young Ralph Joscelyne had a Saturday job. His was to help a local baker deliver bread to the families in that part of Tottenham. As the Latvian gunmen tried to shoot their way to safety, a stray shot hit Ralph as he tried to hide behind his employer’s cart in Mitchley Road. The ten year-old was cradled in the arms of a bystander, but was pronounced dead by the time he reached hospital.


On 29th January 1909, the funeral cortège for Joscelyne and Tyler passed along a 2.5 mile route lined by 3,000 police officers and an estimated crowd of 500,000. The lengthy procession included white-plumed horses drawing Joscelyne’s coffin and black-plumed horses drawing Tyler’s coffin, draped in a Union Flag, which were escorted by hundreds of policemen, a police band, men from the local fire brigade, men from the Scots Guards and Royal Garrison Artillery, and tramway employees. A volley of guns was fired at the conclusion of the funeral.


fullsizerenderRalph Joscelyne’s mother, Louise, was to raise another seven children, but she kept the pair of boots Ralph was wearing on the day he was killed. When she died in 1952, the boots were buried with her. In more recent times, both Joscelyne and Tyler have been commemorated. WIlliam Tyler has a plaque on the wall of Tottenham police station, while Ralph Joscelyne is remembered in a memorial outside a church in Mitchley Road. There is an abiding irony that the corner of Tottenham where the robbery occurred and the resultant chase began is exactly where the catastrophic riots of 2011 started. An initially peaceful protest by relatives of Mark Duggan, a gangster shot by police, did not get the required response from officers within the police station. It then, as they say, “all kicked off.”

Ralph’s memorial in Abney Park was paid for by fellow scholars at his school, Earlsmead, which still stands in Broad Lane, Tottenham (below) and distant relatives of the unfortunate lad have, as mentioned earlier, ensured that his death will not be forgotten against the backdrop of more recent troubled times in London.


According to some Tottenham residents, however, the boy has not completely left us. This, from the pages of a local newspaper:


COMPETITION … Win The Book of Mirrors by EO Chirovici


The good people from Penguin Random House made an inspired choice of the venue for last Wednesday evening’s drinks ‘do’ to introduce Romanian author Eugen O Chirovici (pictured above, with Francesca Russell from PRH) and his forthcoming crime mystery The Book of Mirrors.

The Ten Bells in Spitalfields is a pub steeped in criminal – and literary – history. It takes its name from the bells in the tower of the adjacent Christ Church, which in turn featured strongly in Peter Ackroyd’s atmospheric 1985 novel, Hawksmoor. Allegedly, the pub was frequented by the victims of Jack the Ripper, and legend has it that Mary Jane Kelly, who was the subject of the final and bloodiest assault, plied her trade on the pavement outside.
eocSo, in a spookily lit upper room we met the writer, who is not only an award winning economist and has penned best-sellers in his native Romania, but also the author of a stunningly good new novel – the first he has written in English. The book is set partly in the present and partly in 1987, and it tells the story of the murder of a controversial professor of psychology at New Jersey’s Princeton University. His death is observed by different narrators, and Chirovici (left) has constructed an ingenious literary version of the old fairground attraction of distorting mirrors, so that we reach the final pages still not really sure who is giving us the correct image of events on the fateful night.
Not only is Chrirovici a very gifted writer, but he is also a very engaging person to talk to, and my colleague and I spent forty minutes or so with him, dissecting European politics and generally putting the world to rights.
Thanks to Century, we have two copies of The Book of Mirrors – which will not be generally available until January 2017 to give away. Entering couldn’t be simpler. Just email Fully Booked at:

– and write The Book of Mirrors in the subject box. The competition will close at 10.00pm GMT on Sunday 9th October, when the first two names out of the proverbial hat will win the books. Due to postage costs, the competition is open to UK and Irish Republic readers only.


  1. Competition closes 10.00pm London time on Sunday 9th October 2016.
  2. One entry per competitor.
  3. All correct entries will be put in the proverbial hat, and one winner drawn.
  4. The winner will be notified by email, and a postal address requested


CLOSE YOUR EYES … Between the covers


A BRUTAL DOUBLE MURDER in a remote Somerset cottage has baffled the police, and inflamed local opinion over what they see as the ineptitude of the investigating officers. In charge of the case is DCS Ronnie Cray – and yes, she has changed the first letter of her surname – and almost in desperation she enlists the help of forensic psychologist Dr Joseph O’Loughlin.

O’Loughlin is reluctantly drawn into the efforts to track down the killer who butchered Elizabeth Crowe beneath the satanist pentangle daubed on her wall, and efficiently suffocated her teenage daughter, Harper, in her bed upstairs. To say the very least, O’Laughlin has enough problems of his own. He is trying to live a normal life while battling the early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, and his delight at being invited to return to the cottage occupied by his daughters Charlie and Emma, and his estranged wife, is tempered when he learns that Julianne has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Robotham introduces us to  a possible culprit in the opening pages of the book. This man describes his assaults on various women, while describing his awful childhood. His once-brutal father is now in a care home, and has advanced dementia, but our narrator recalls with hatred the beatings – both physical and psychological – he suffered at his father’s hands. Even more telling is the lasting legacy of his mother’s death. She was, perhaps understandably, given her husband’s predilection for violence,’playing away’, but was killed in a bizarre road traffic accident.

Elizabeth Crowe was, to use the old cliché, “no better than she should have been”. After an acrimonious divorce, she has used her new-found freedom to explore the dubious delights of dogging, and it is the participants of that strangely British open-air activity who are the obvious suspects in the investigation. There is no shortage of other suspects, however. How about the dim-witted Tommy Garrett who lives with his grandmother in the neighbouring property? Or maybe Elizabeth’s former husband, Dominic? Not only did Elizabeth cheat on him with her body, but she also ruined him financially.

Robotham leads O’Loughlin – and you, the reader – a merry dance. There are red herrings a-plenty, as O’Loughlin tries to establish the connection between the contrasting deaths of Elizabeth and Harper Crowe, and a seemingly random series of attacks on people which leaves some of them dead, but all with a crude letter ‘A’ cut into their foreheads. But of course, in detective novels, nothing is ever really random, or no fictional crime would ever be solved. Robotham is a clever enough writer to allow O’Loughlin to make the mother of all mistakes before a terrifying climax is played out on a storm blasted cliff top above the raging seas of the Bristol Channel.

Remember the famous scene in Jaws, where we are watching the Richard Dreyfuss character probing the hole in the half-sunken boat? Just as we are expecting the shark to come charging in, Spielberg gives us an even greater shock when the severed head rolls in to view. Robotham does something rather similar at the end of Close Your Eyes as he blind-sides us with a killer blow that we never see coming. This novel, which came out in hardback and digital versions last year, and is now out as a Sphere paperback, will further cement Robotham’s reputation as one of the cleverest and most effective writers of modern crime thrillers.

Click the link to check out buying option for Close Your Eyes

Michael Robotham
was born in Casino, New South Wales in 1960, and after serving an apprenticeship on a Sydney newspaper, moved to London, where he eventually became deputy features editor for The Daily Mail. In 1993 he began his literary career, first as a ghostwriter for several notable personalities who were writing their autobiographies. His first hit crime novel was The Suspect in 2004, and he has since won many awards for his books.  He has returned to Australia, and Close Your Eyes is the eighth novel in the Joseph O’Loughlin series.

Michael Robotham, international crime writer visiting London 26.07.2010 picture: Stefan Erhard

THE WYLIE-HOFFERT CASE … August 28th 1963

The Biggest Murder Mystery Case of the Century

by Robert K. Tanenbaum
Author of Infamy: A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller

If I were asked to select one case in the history of our justice system that epitomized the essentials and professionalism of a ministry of justice in terms of tempestuous drama, personal anguish, garish confrontation, and, yes, divine intervention, unhesitatingly, I would answer: the Wylie-Hoffert rape murders. Here’s why:

August 28, 1963, was a muggy summer day in New York City when Janice Wylie and Emily Hoffert were brutally raped and murdered in their apartment on Manhattan’s fashionable Upper East Side. Months passed as their families grieved the nightmarish unthinkable and a shaken city awaited answers. Finally, eight months later, the Brooklyn Police arrested George Whitmore, Jr., a nineteen-year-old with an I.Q. south of 70. His incarceration would ultimately entail a host of shocking law-enforcement missteps and cover-ups.

At the time of his arrest for the Wylie-Hoffert murders, the Brooklyn Police and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office (Brooklyn) also charged Whitmore with attempted rape and the murder of Minnie Edmonds, both of which occurred in Brooklyn one week apart.

roblesYet, Mel Glass, a young Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, not even assigned to the Homicide Bureau, was troubled by the investigation. With the blessing from legendary District Attorney, Frank Hogan, Glass tirelessly immersed himself in the case. So began an epic quest for justice, culminating in a courtroom showdown in which the Brooklyn arresting and interrogating cops refused to admit their flagrant missteps, providing a complete defense to the actual career criminal, vicious predator, murderer, Richard Robles.(pictured right)

The outcome would reach far beyond the individuals involved. Not only does the case reveal the extraordinary details of an enormously intense manhunt but it is also a classic and brilliant courtroom prosecution. The unjustly accused was exonerated and the depraved killer convicted. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court memorialized this case’s significance by citing it in the noteworthy Miranda decision, a monumental Fifth Amendment due process, fundamental fairness decision designed to safeguard a suspect’s rights against self-incrimination.

I served in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office during the tenure of District Attorney Frank Hogan, and was mentored by Mel Glass who asked me to write Echoes of My Soul which is a non-fiction account of the Wylie-Hoffert case.

hoganImportant to note that District Attorney Hogan (left) was truly a legend long before Wylie-Hoffert occurred. Once convinced that Mel Glass’ gut-instincts and subsequent investigation was legitimate and that George Whitmore, Jr., was wrongfully indicted for the most gruesome and sensationalized double-rape murders in the media’s radar, Mr. Hogan was prepared to admit his mistake, possibly fracture his career’s reputation, and exonerate an impoverished young man with a very low I.Q. And why? Simply and manifestly because it was right, justice demanded it.

© Robert K. Tanenbaum, author of Infamy: A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller 

Robert K. Tanenbaum
( pictured below) is the author of Infamy: A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller (Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster). He has authored thirty-one books—twenty-eight novels and three nonfiction books: The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer, Badge of the Assassin, and Echoes of My Soul. He is one of the most successful prosecuting attorneys, having never lost a felony trial and convicting hundreds of violent criminals. He was a special prosecution consultant on the Hillside strangler case in Los BL_21845_07.tifAngeles and defended Amy Grossberg in her sensationalized baby death case. He was Assistant District Attorney in New York County in the office of legendary District Attorney Frank Hogan, where he ran the Homicide Bureau, served as Chief of the Criminal Courts, and was in charge of the DA’s legal staff training program. He served as Deputy Chief counsel for the Congressional Committee investigation into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also served two terms as mayor of Beverly Hills and taught Advanced Criminal Procedure for four years at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, and has conducted continuing legal education (CLE) seminars for practicing lawyers in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tanenbaum attended the University of California at Berkeley on a basketball scholarship, where he earned a B.A. He received his law degree (J.D.) from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. For more information, please visit

THE TRESPASSER …Between the covers


AUTHOR TANA FRENCH beams us down into an endlessly wet, chill and foggy Dublin. The old working class district of Stoneybatter has become, so we are told elsewhere, the epitome of ‘cool’ with all the trappings which that entails – craft ales, artisan bakeries and community spaces. There’s little of that on display when DI Antoinette Conway and her partner Steve Moran are called to a terrace house to view the body of a dead woman. Aislinn Murray is on the floor by her fake rustic fireplace with severe head injuries. Conway says;

“Her face is covered by blond hair, straightened and sprayed so ferociously that even murder hasn’t managed to mess it up. She looks like Dead Barbie.”

Two things puzzle Conway and Moran. Firstly, who was the man who made the ‘phone call alerting the authorities to Aislinn’s demise, and why did he call direct to Stoneybatter police station, rather than using the emergency number? Secondly who was the dead woman’s intended dinner guest that evening? The table was laid for two, with candles lit and a bottle of decent red wine quietly breathing.

As Conway puts her team of ‘D’s’ – murder detectives – together, we learn that she has a prickly relationship with her fellow officers. Yes, she is a woman and, yes, the men’s laddish behaviour – nothing new to readers of novels featuring women detectives – is nastier than simple banter, but the dystopian atmosphere in the squad room is more complex. To be blunt, Conway is something of a pain in the arse at times. She has more chips on her shoulder than a bag of McCains (other brands are available), and the endless baiting and crass pranks from her male colleagues simply stoke the fires of bitterness. Having said that, she is an absolutely pin bright and razor sharp copper, but her fragile equanimity is not helped when her boss forces her to work alongside DI Breslin, a man she loathes. Breslin is glib, sharp-suited and much admired by the other D’s. In short, he is everything that Conway is not.

The consensus among the Gardaí is that the killer of Aislinn Murray is her latest boyfriend, an apparently mild-mannered bookshop owner called Rory Fallon, and he was  the intended beneficiary of the candle-lit dinner in the Stoneybatter cottage. From the moment Conway clapped eyes on the Aislinn’s ruined face, however, she is tantalised by a feeling that she has seen the girl before. When that memory clicks into place, the investigation takes a different turn entirely, and it turns over a large rock which has many nasty creatures scuttling around underneath it.

To say that The Trespasser is a police procedural is, strictly speaking, accurate. But the description does the book justice in the same way that simply describing Luciano Pavarotti as a singer fails to illuminate the central truth. Tana French knows her Dublin, and she knows her An Garda Síochána, but those dabs of authenticity are just that – mere paint spots on a subtle, complex and magnificent canvas.

I suppose I must have drawn breath during the five or six minutes it took to read the gripping climax of this book, but I don’t remember doing so. The final pages contain no action to speak of, just four people sitting in an office, but the psychological intensity is quite terrifying. The quality of the writing is such that French does not allow Conway to luxuriate in her victory, such as it is. There is just a terrible sense of pity, of shattered lives, and human frailty. Conway walks away from the police station:

“The cobblestones feel wrong under my feet, thin skins of stone over bottomless fog. The squad I’ve spent the last two years hating, the sniggering fucktards backstabbing the solo warrior while she fought her doomed battle; that’s gone, peeled away like a smeared film that was stuck down hard over the real thing.”

This is a brilliant, savage and uncomfortable read. Don’t pick it up unless you want your emotions scoured and your sense of empathy and compassion put through the mangle.

Tana French has her own website, and you can follow the link to check buying choices for The Trespasser, which is available now.

THE POSTMAN DELIVERS … Gimenez and McQuaile


As we saw in The Colour of Law (2013) lawyer A. Scott Fenney is used to dealing with unpopular cases. Back then, it was a  heroin-addicted black prostitute, absolutely no-one’s idea of a sympathetic defendant. Now, he is a newly appointed U.S. District Judge, and before him  is a man who many consider to be the embodiment of evil on earth – Omar al Mustafa, a notorious and charismatic Muslim cleric known for his incendiary anti-American diatribes on social media. Even the POTUS has been publicly clapping his hands with glee at the prospect of Mustafa’s downfall. There’s just one tiny problem; there is no evidence to support the cleric’s conviction. With a widely expected attack on America by ISIS just weeks away, Fenney is faced with the most difficult decision of his life. The book is out in hardback on 6th October, and is published by Sphere. Check out buying options here.

This domestic psychological thriller came out on Kindle earlier this year, and is now available in paperback. McQuaile is a graduate of the Faber Writing Academy, and her debut novel from Quercus tells the story of a woman, Louise Redmond, who is left feeling desolate after a failed marriage. She has never known who her father was, and when she travels home to Ireland to be at the bedside of her dying mother, her search to discover her past takes a sinister turn. Check out McQuaile’s author page on Amazon.



It is March 1861. We are in the little village of Parson Drove, Cambridgeshire. The Fens, which Samuel Pepys found so unpleasant when he visited in 1663, have all been drained. He described it as “a Heathen place”, and the events described in this podcast do not give the lie to his opinion. Click the link to listen.



HOME … Between the covers


Coming new to an established series happens more often than you might think to book reviewers, and so it is with this book. It has taken me ten previous novels to catch up with Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar. You may have been there from the beginning, which was in 1995 with Deal Breaker, and if so, bear with me for a moment. Myron Bolitar is a forty-something former top basketball player, whose career was cut cruelly short when his knee was ruined in an on-court incident. He used his sporting fame to start up an agency representing sports stars, but later expanded his client base to include other celebrities.

Home starts with a metaphorical ‘bang’ in the form of a very literal ‘slash’. The as yet un-named narrator is in the insalubrious London district of King’s Cross and we know only that he is searching for two missing boys, abducted from their American home ten years since. They were six at the time, but our narrator has been given an anonymous tip that one of them is now working as a rent boy in London. The boy seems appears to be plying his trade in a city underpass, along with a variety of other bodies for sale. When the teenager is attacked by three street hoodlums, the narrator intervenes. With a cut-throat razor. The teenager, however, escapes into the hurly burly of King’s Cross railway station, complete with its Harry Potter and Hogwarts connection.

Three dead bodies, and a ‘phone call later, we learn that we have been listening to the voice of Windsor Horne Lockwood III, a billionaire playboy, with a psychotic streak. ‘Win’ is the long term best friend of Myron Bolitar, and related to one of the missing boys. We soon meet Myron himself, as he is recovering from a bout of energetic sex with his fiancée, Terese, in Win’s New York apartment, which is in none other than the celebrated Dakota building.

Patrick Moore and Rhys Baldwin were on a ‘playdate’ at Patrick’s home, in the care of the Moore’s Finnish au pair, when masked men burst into the house, overpowered and tied up the young woman, and made off with the two boys. That is the history. The present? Myron is summoned to London to add his investigative skills to Win’s savagery. After some spectacular rough and tumble involving a larger-than-life human monster called Fat Gandhi, Patrick Moore is rescued and brought back to New Jersey.

That, however is very far from that. Patrick is restored to something resembling the home he was snatched from a decade earlier, but what of Rhys? Win and Myron begin to smell a rather malodorous rat, and there are more questions than answers. What does Patrick remember of the fateful day? Is he actually Patrick, or is there some scarcely imaginable scam being carried out?

Myron finally learns the the truth about the the two boys, but you may well share the former basketball ace’s bafflement along the way. Eventually, Coben lets him into the secret with a dazzling and totally unexpected revelation, rather than having him painstakingly gather evidence. I didn’t see the solution coming, but when it did, it was like being hit by a train.

This is a brilliant tale, and will be all the more dazzling to anyone like myself who is new to the series. Having yin and yang partnerships is nothing new in crime fiction, but it can seldom have been more audaciously used as with Coben’s sweet and sour pair. Win provides an unlimited supply of violence to complement Myron’s empathy and compassion. The closest comparison I can think of is that of the wise-guy persona of Robert B Parker’s Spenser, and his lethal friendship with the implacable Hawk. Home is one of those books that may well grab you by the throat and keep you mesmerised until you have reached the last page. Dogs will go unwalked. Pans will boil over on the stove. ‘Phones will go unanswered. You have been warned.

Follow the link to see buying options for Home.



Rennie Airth, a South African by birth, now lives in Italy, but I mention these details only because his descriptions of wartime England in The Dead of Winter are so evocative that it is hard to believe that the writer did not experience the conditions at first hand. More of this in a while, but first, the story.

air_raid_wardens_wanted_-_arp_art-iwmpst13880We are in the weeks leading up to Christmas 1944, deep in what would prove to be the last winter of a war which, thanks to the Luftwaffe, had brought death and destruction to the doorsteps of ordinary people in towns and cities up and down the country. German aircraft no longer drone over the streets of London; instead, the Dorniers and Heinkels have been replaced by an even more demoralising menace – the seemingly random strikes by V1 and V2 rockets. Despite the fact that the rockets need no visible target to aim at, the ubiquitous blackout is still in force. An Air Raid Precaution Warden, whose job has become as redundant as that of those manning anti-aircraft batteries, makes a chilling discovery. He stumbles – literally – on the body of a young woman. Her neck has been broken by someone clearly well-versed in killing, and the only clue is a number of spent matches lying by the body.

The dead woman is soon identified. She is Rosa Nowak, a Polish girl who has sought refuge in Britain, and has been working on a farm in Kent. What was she doing in London? Visiting her aged aunt, apparently. The police struggle to find a motive for the killing. It wasn’t sexual, it wasn’t robbery, so who on earth stood to gain from the murder? The investigation is led by Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair, a senior detective who might have retired years ago, were it not for the manpower shortage in the Metropolitan Police caused by the war.

With one of those wonderful coincidences which only ever seem to happen in crime novels, Sinclair learns that the farm where Rosa had been working is none other than that owned by a former colleague – John Madden. Rennie Airth introduced us to the former Inspector in River of Darkness (1999) and we followed his progress in The Blood Dimmed Tide (2004). Madden served with distinction in The Great War, but the conflict has left him with scars, more mental than physical and, despite marrying, for the second time, a country doctor who he met in River of Darkness, he still grieves for the deaths of his first wife and their young daughter.

ration-bookThere is more than a touch of The Golden Age about this novel, but it is much more than a pastiche. Although the killing of Rosa Nowak is eventually solved, with a regulation dramatic climax in a snow-bound country house, Rennie Airth allows us to breathe, smell and taste the air of an England almost – but not quite – beaten down by the privations of war. Many of the characters have menfolk away at the war, including Madden himself and his wife Helen. Their son is in the Royal Navy, on the rough winter seas escorting convoys. The contrast between life in the city and in the country is etched deep. In the city, restaurant meals are frequently inedible, the black market thrives unchecked due to depleted police manpower, and even the newsprint bearing cheering propaganda from the government is subject to rationing. Travelling anywhere, unless you are fiddling your petrol coupons, is arduous and unpleasant.

“Though inured like all by now to the rigours of wartime travel, to the misery of unheated carriages, overcrowded compartments and the mingled smell of bodily odours and stale tobacco, he was still recovering from his trip down from London that afternoon when for two hours he had sat gazing out at a countryside that offered little relief to the eyes weary of the sight of dust and rubble, of the never-ending vista of ruined streets and bombed-out houses …..”

There is an element of the modern police procedural about the book, but such is the quality of Airth’s writing that we willingly forgive him for John Madden’s occasional flashes of insight which redirect the well-intentioned but bumbling coppers in their search for the killer of Rosa Nowak.

In addition to the two previous John Manning novels, our man returns in The Reckoning (2014) and is set to make another appearance in 2017 with The Death of Kings.


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