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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Thursday, October 31, 2013

of murder, spies and motor cars

Hardcastle's Traitors (A Hardcastle and Marriott Historical Mystery) by Graham Ison 

London, 1915 and New Year's Eve is being seen in by a Zeppelin air raid.
For Divisional Detective Inspector Ernest Hardcastle of the Met. the New Year brings a robbery at a jewelry-cum-pawnbroker's, and  a murder.
Hardcastle is a bit of a stickler.
In terms of type, Hardcastle is not as likeable as the perceptive Foyle, more aware of rank and what's due than Jack Frost, maybe a bit more like Oscar Blaketon of Heartbeat, or not.
Really, there's very little personally endearing about the man, apart from his dedication to the chase, which sometimes is derailed or more often nailed by what DS Marriott calls, 'one of the guv'nor's flights of fancy.'

Set in his ways and pedantic, he has strong opinions. Women shouldn't work, or vote, the advent of police cars is  questionable, the telephone 'is a new fangled device that won't last long.' Hardcastle does think fingerprints are a good thing. They have helped him to solve crimes in the past.He forges ahead oblivious to the demand a he places on his underlings.  His long suffering sidekick, Detective Sergeant Charles Marriott is on the case. Fortunately Marriott is 'accustomed to the DDI ignoring the common courtesies.'
Marriott is a splendid foil for Hardcastle. More caring and considerate of his fellow officers, yearning for time to spend with his family, he wonders from time to time why he took this position.
As an aside, in 1915, bowler hats are apparently de rigour for all Senior Detectives.
Murders, spies, deserters, MI5 interest, and Zionist plots are all grist for the mill in this latest Hardcastle and Marriott investigation.

A NetGalley ARC

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