It is 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey - the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The victims have all been stabbed and the lack of disturbance in the house suggests that the attack was one of terrifying speed. The Surrey police force seem ready to put the murders town to ...Read MoreIt is 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey - the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The victims have all been stabbed and the lack of disturbance in the house suggests that the attack was one of terrifying speed. The Surrey police force seem ready to put the murders town to robbery with violence, but Detective Inspector Madden from Scotland Yard sees things slightly differently. For he has experienced the horrors of World War I and has seen madness at first hand. And he is certain this crime has been perpetrated by a psychopath who will strike again ...and soon. 'One of the most gripping thrillers I have ever read' Country Life 'If only every golden age crime novel could be as good as this' Independent on SundayRead Less
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This a good read. The story takes place in a setting which would be idyllic were it not for the serial killer. It's quite evocative of the pre-WW1 era and characters are pretty well developed. Much less contrived than, say, Agatha Christie, the narrative is nevertheless quite complex and unfolds in a believable range of speculations and discoveries.
Jan 13, 2010
Darkness in England, post WWI
4 1/2 stars.
It's 1921 and England is still recovering from WWI. War wounded are seen throughout the land. What cannot be seen is the psychologically wounded who are in need of help.
In Surrey, at his country maner, Col. Fletcher, his wife and two staff are murdered. Local police believe that it was a violent robbery. However, Inspector John Madden is called in from Scotland Yard. He sees the scene and knows it is something else. He's spent time in the trenches and knows that this is the work of a psychopath who will continue to kill until stopped.
Madden is a well developed protagonist. He's knowledgeable and determined to find the killer. His personal history is brought in nicely so that the reader can sympathise with him. The respect with which he is held to by his assistant, Billy Styles, gives credibility to Madden's keen knowledge both of people and of crime.
The setting is rural England, which is nicely described with its hedges and gardens. In fact, the reader could be seeing the story on film, the descriptions are so vivid.
As is the case with many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, today, the author is telling his readers how little post tramatic syndrome is known and what the psychological impact it can have.
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