River of Darkness Book 1

Walmart # 561804524

River of Darkness Book 1

Walmart # 561804524
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9780143171003

About This Item

Paperback, Renouf Pub Co Ltd, 2009, ISBN13 9780143171003, ISBN10 0143171003
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In England in 1921, the c

In England in 1921, the country was still recovering from WWI. War wounded were seen throughout the country. What couldn't be seen were those who were psychologically wounded and in need of help. With this background, at the start of the novel, a family is murdered in Surrey. Police at first believe that it is a violent robbery but when Inspector John Madden is called in from Scotland Yard, he views the scene and thinks it's something else. Madden has spent time in the trenches in the war and believes that this is the work of a psychopath who will continue killing until he is stopped. John Madden is a well developed protagonist. He's knowledgeable and determined to find the killer. His personal history is brought in nicely so that the reader gets to know him and sympathise with him. The respect with which he is held by his assistant, Billy Styles, gives credibility to Madden's knowledge of people and crime. The setting is the English countryside with gardens and country manors surrounded by woods. The descriptions are vivid and help the reader see a clearer picture of what live may have been like. The theme is relevant with the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The author is telling his readers how little post tramatic syndrome is known and what psychological impact it causes. A most enjoyable read.

In England in 1921, the c

In England in 1921, the country was still recovering from WWI. War wounded were seen throughout the country. What couldn't be seen were those who were psychologically wounded and in need of help. With this background, at the start of the novel, a family is murdered in Surrey. Police at first believe that it is a violent robbery but when Inspector John Madden is called in from Scotland Yard, he views the scene and thinks it's something else. Madden has spent time in the trenches in the war and believes that this is the work of a psychopath who will continue killing until he is stopped. John Madden is a well developed protagonist. He's knowledgeable and determined to find the killer. His personal history is brought in nicely so that the reader gets to know him and sympathise with him. The respect with which he is held by his assistant, Billy Styles, gives credibility to Madden's knowledge of people and crime. The setting is the English countryside with gardens and country manors surrounded by woods. The descriptions are vivid and help the reader see a clearer picture of what live may have been like. The theme is relevant with the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The author is telling his readers how little post tramatic syndrome is known and what psychological impact it causes. A most enjoyable read.

This is an excellent book

This is an excellent book. It is very suspenseful, right up to the end. The mystery is well crafted as are the characters. This is very similar to the Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd. They are both set in the same time period and have a Scotland Yard detective who was damaged by WWI as the protagonist. The final similarity is that the are both excellent books.I look forward to the next entry in the series.

Introspection could be a

Introspection could be a subtitle for this post WW1 mystery. Virtually all the protagonists have been personally affected by WW1, either as a participant or related to those who were engaged. It was a brutal war in an era when mental illness and its treatment were stuck in a cycle of ignore or sequester as solutions. Horrific, multiple murders occur in a small village and a seriously damaged but not deranged detective is sent from London to solve the mystery. Some excellently drawn characters, including the villain, sustain an interesting plot with some mostly believable twists and turns in its conclusion.

This is a straight-forwar

This is a straight-forward mystery, set in England after WWI, and written in a more current style with more explicit sexual content and more graphic violence than one would find in period books. The author found a nice balance with this - I found the setting very believable, it didn't seem like 21st century people shoehorned in 1922 (I actually don't remember what year it is set in, so let's say that as a ballpark); the domestic details and lifestyle information felt right. At the same time, you get a very candid description of the CRIMES that were generally left more implied in mystery novels of the time. For me personally, as you know I have Maisie Dobbs issues (sorry, Maisie fans), this was a much better approach for a present-day writer than Maisie, who often has the mindset of a 2011 overly earnest recent college graduate, and yet manages to be more cloyingly twee than anything found in Sayers, Marsh, or Christie. In this book, Scotland Yard investigators are called to a murder scene that starts off looking like a B&E gone wrong, and quickly turns out to be the work of a more creepy serial killer. There are some sort of standard elements that ... hmmm, they didn't detract from the book for me, but they do give you a little wave to say "yes, we're genre markers!" ... the reluctance on the part of the Yard higher-ups to embrace "modern" crime investigation methods so we can laugh behind our hands at them, the adversarial "other detective" who is career-climbing and thus dismissive of our protagonists' risk-taking approach to investigation, the sensational press reporters, those sorts of things. Even our protagonist detective, who is, of course, damaged from his time in the trenches of WWI, which sounds so dismissive and I don't mean it that way, but it's hard to read and not immediately call up Lord Peter and think "yep, got it, okay, what's going to happen next with this plot?" And it has all the nice things that, speaking as an American reader, I know about in the first place from reading Sayers, Marsh and Christie - how the pubs work and what are the roles of the household staff and what the War Office does and the endless effort that goes into maintaining a motor car (thanks, Bunter!). The love interest was easier to buy if you could say to yourself "hey, I like these characters and it's nice for them, so I'm going to take this at face value and move on" and not insist on being convinced by the writing or events of the book. Grade: A-, it was a very good mystery, but it's not trying to be more than a mystery. Recommended: To fans of this particular genre who won't be bothered by the un-coziness of it.
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