1914, London, and the world is on the brink of war. Detective Inspector Silas Quinn and his two associates, DS Macadam and DC Inchball, have been tasked with seeking out possible German spies, but their investigations are curtailed when, at the premiere of the new film by Austrian director Konrad Waechter’s latest film, a woman is savagedly attacked, her eye being carved out by persons unknown. She then vanishes into the night… but soon another body with the same injuries appears.
Quinn needs to get to the bottom of things quickly. But with blackmail schemes, personal revelations and troubles at home distracting him left, right and centre, it seems that things might be spiralling out of control…
An interesting one, this one. It’s very different from most of the crime fiction that I read – the central character is troubled, to say the least. Everyone seems prone to introspection and the overwhelming theme is darkness. And eyes. And the darkness left when you cut someone’s eye out.
I’ll be brief on this one. I think it’s well written – it’s the sort of thing that I expect Scandi-noir to be like (based on the one chapter of Mankell that I read five years ago). There’s a lot more here than the mystery element of the story but it didn’t really jibe with me. There didn’t seem to be a character in the story that I felt that I could relate to as everyone seemed to have major issues of one form or another.
I can see the talent on display with this book – the author has a clear vision for the story and delivers a deep compelling narrative. The mystery element isn’t particularly clued, but the imagery on display is powerful if incredibly bleak.
I’ll admit – this book wasn’t for me and I find it hard to recommend for classic mystery lovers. But do take a look if you fancy something a little different.