Genre: Crime fiction
“a neatly lacquered puzzle-box filled with golden-age trickery, as warm and timeless as crumpets and honey; a murder to curl up by the fire with on a winter’s night” – Christopher Fowler, author of the bestselling Bryant and May mysteries
The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link.
As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch.
On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.
With nods to the Golden Age of detective fiction, this is nostalgic crime for the modern era.
When the multiple-suspect homicide case of Peter Howse is linked to another body (this one far less recent), the police team at the-soon-to-be-closed-down Hampstead station face the seemingly overwhelming task of solving two rather difficult murders. Throw in a love-triangle, some researchers, Agatha Christie, and some rather modern policing limitations, and the unravelling begins…
It’s refreshing to read a crime novel that harks back to the writing of (yes, aptly) Agatha Christie, yet still managing to deal with modern problems. The plot was classic, the writing dripping with nostalgia (in a good way), and the pace gentle. An enjoyable trip down classic crime’s memory lane. Recommended.
*Thank you to the publisher for a free copy of the book.