Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Architect of Murder: Bill Crider
From Texan author Bill Crider, who has an excellent blog of his own over at Bill Crider's Popular Culture Magazine:
Rafe McGregor maintains an excellent blog, well worth your time. He’s also the author of a fine new novel,The Architect of Murder, published by Robert Hale.
The story involves a number of real and fictional characters, including Cecil John Rhodes, whose last will and testament kick off the events of the book. One of the witnesses to Rhodes’s will, Eric Lowenstein, is murdered. Scotland Yard’s Superintendent Melville, head of the Special Branch, recruits Major Alec Marshall VC, just back from the fighting in South Africa to help investigate. As it happens, Marshall’s sister has also recently died under mysterious circumstances. If you’re a mystery reader, you already know that the two events will turn out to be connected.
The setting is London, 1902, and it’s evoked quite well. If you know a little bit about the history of the time and the events in South Africa, you’ll probably enjoy the book even more. There’s some dandy police procedure (McGregor is a Sherlockian), and plenty of interesting characters to carry the story along. Not to mention action. Even a swordfight! I got a kick out of some of the things I thought of as little in-jokes (Melville is referred to once or twice as “Mr. M.” and there’s also a “Mr. Q.”) The plot has plenty of twists, and I suspect that hardly anyone will figure out all of them. I know I didn’t.
The Architect of Murder looks like a hit to me. The ending plainly sets the stage for a sequel, and I think we’ll see one for sure.
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