Synopsis: June 1890. Leeds is close to breaking point. The gas workers are on strike. Supplies are dangerously low. Factories and businesses are closing; the lamps are going unlit at night. Detective Inspector Tom Harper has more urgent matters on his mind. The beat constable claims eight-year-old Martha Parkinson has disappeared. Her father insists she s visiting an aunt in Halifax but Harper doesn’t believe him. When Col Parkinson is found dead the following morning, the case takes on an increasing desperation. But then Harper s search for Martha is interrupted by the murder of a replacement gas worker, stabbed to death outside the Town Hall while surrounded by a hostile mob. Pushed to find a quick solution, Harper discovers that there s more to this killing than meets the eye and that there may be a connection to Martha s disappearance.
Me: One of my favourite fictional characters is Commander Vimes of the Nights Watch in Pratchetts’ Discworld series. He’s a copper that knows every inch of his city beat, every street; every pub. He can tell where he is by the feel of the cobbles under his boots. For me Detective Inspector Tom Harper. Every little bit of 1890’s Leeds is lovingly created.
It’s my heritage too; my family as well as myself having grown up in many of the areas described. For me it adds that special extra touch to know exactly where I am as the police walk the streets. The detail is so vivid it’s easy to visualise how they were back in the day.
This is the first Tom Harper book but the second I’ve read having accidentally started with book 3 and it’s been nice to revisit the characters and see them start the journeys I’ve seen them reach and discover them from the beginning.
I hate modern CSI policing. I like gumshoes, walking the beta solving crimes through detection and brain power. PC Plodding…Being set in 1890 I get to have that and all the running around and catching omnibuses gives me that but also allows Leeds to become an extra character in the book.
The human characters are also well formed and only get better as the series continues. The book is fast paced and a quick read. I think it’s turning into one of my favourite detective series. A must read