This is a detective novel set in London which combines Poirot with CSI in a most artful fashion. From the outset, we are shocked by the mystery surrounding the sudden death of a young woman in an ancient church, St Bride`s, which two children, Lucy and Tom, playing the ancient game of Witch Hunt, think that they have caused. We are led into the inscrutable higher echelons of Government where Oscar Kasavian, a top-level civil servant involved in a vital new Border Initiative and who is Home Office head of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, asks the Unit to investigate the reasons why his very young, beautiful Albanian wife is behaving erratically and threatening the success of the Initiative. This comes as a surprise to Bryant, the elderly and academic lead detective of the PCU and his dapper long-term colleague, May, as they know that Kasavian is trying to get rid of the Unit. Nevertheless, they set out to solve the problem, weaving their way through more deaths, red-herrings and brick walls, aided on the way by a white witch, a warlock and modern forensics to the final nail-biting denouement, ably supported by the rest of the detectives of the small PCU, all of whom we meet and with whom we share heartbreaks and happiness.
Fowler`s characters are beautifully described and he creates a suspenseful atmosphere throughout the book, interspersed with wicked humour. From the conspiring Government wives club to Crippen the Unit cat, it is an addictive read.
His impressive use of language is also delightful –one of my favourite quotes is this : “A sickly grey and yellow dawn broke over King`s Cross. The clouds looked as if they had fallen down a flight of stairs and badly bruised themselves.” This is one of many original descriptions which add to the enjoyment of the book.
I thoroughly recommend this book.
Reviewed by Liz
Thanks Liz and thank you to Transworld for sending us a copy to review.