My husband knows that I don’t mow the yard, nor do I bug him about it very often. To be quite honest, grass makes me sneeze. The yard today is Scotland Yard circa1889, brought to (fictional) life by Alex Grecian.
The Yard takes place in London shortly after the Metropolitan Police’s failure to capture Jack the Ripper. Due to the countless numbers of murders committed in London each month, the Murder Squad has been formed, a group of specially selected detectives whose job it is to investigate the killings. There are only twelve of them, but then one of their ranks, Inspector Little shows up dead, shoved into a steamer trunk in Euston Square Station. It falls to the newest member of the team, Inspector Day, to find the killer. With the help of Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the pathologist who is ahead of his time both as a doctor as a forensic scientist, Day follows the few clues left at the scene, on a chase through London, but the killer is still watching the Murder Squad, ready to kill again if need be.
I love a good historical mystery, especially one that truly transports me to another town and place. The Yard does it; I’m there in the dirty, crime-ridden city. We see criminology at its beginning and the period details evoke truly evoke Victorian London. I understand that what these detectives are trying to do is almost impossible in the era when human lives, especially the young, poor, mentally unstable are not valued. They can’t solve every crime; they simply don’t have the resources or time, but this one they are determined to follow through. This was one of their own who was killed. There are twists and turns and perhaps the plot isn’t perfect, but I was kept gripped to the page. It’s not a mystery per se, as we know from early on who the killer is, so the reader gets to follow both the hunter and hunted, until, of course, they finally meet. There are also a couple of side plots that add interest to the story, and give us a little more insight into some of the secondary characters.
Day and Kingsley are both well-developed, good men doing the best they can, learning as they go, willing to make sacrifices while still protecting the ones they love. The other detectives and supervisors, while not the focus, are still very present in the book, each with his own personality. I’m glad that this is the first in a proposed series. I want to watch as these men try to rid London of its murderers, presumably continuing to make advances in detection methods.
The Yard is a book to get lost in, atmospheric, suspenseful, thrilling.
4½ out of 5 stars
Expected release date May 29, 2012 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Group
Book source: For review
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