A Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang

A Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang
Narrator: Raphael Corkhill
Published by Audible Studios on July 31, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Historical Mystery
Length: 11 hrs 53 mins
Format: Audiobook
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four-stars

The year is 1924, and Lieutenant Eric Peterkin, formerly of the Royal Fusiliers, is a new member of the Britannia―London’s most prestigious club. It's a family tradition, but an honor he's not sure he quite deserves. So, when a gentleman's wager ends with one man dead in the vault under the club, Eric is only too ready to tackle the mystery head on.

Eric’s quest to resolve the murder quickly becomes an investigation of a mysterious wartime disappearance. It draws him far from the marbled halls of the Brittania, to the shadowy remains of a dilapidated war hospital to the heroin dens of Limehouse. Eric faces a Matryoshka doll of murder, vice, and secrets pointing not only to the officers of his own club but the very investigator assigned by Scotland Yard.

Threatened with expulsion and dogged by the racist shadows of the Great War, Eric presses on nonetheless. But can he snare the killer before his own membership becomes a thing of yesterday?

There are a few things you might not know about me. 1.) I love clickbait. 2.) I can be a sucker for ads, not the ones on tv necessarily, more often the ones that show up on websites or facebook, you know those targetted ads. A Gentleman’s Murder showed up in one of the ads on Goodreads. I forget what exactly the mini-blurb in the ad said, probably something along the lines of “reminiscent of the Golden Age of Mysteries, but it, along with the title and cover, was enough to send me off to the full blurb and I ended up adding it to my to-read list.

A Gentleman’s Murder takes place just after WWI in London. While a lot of the mysteries I’ve read that were actually written in that era gloss over the war, this one faces it aftereffects head-on. “Shell Shock,” since this takes places before we referred to it as PTSD, plays an important role in the book, not in the mystery itself, but in how the characters deal with life following the war. The Brittania Club, which the novel centers on, only, or almost only, admits men who fought during the war, so most of the characters were soldiers or officers, and many of the wives were nurses. The war has only been over for 8 years, people still think that it was “the war to end all wars,” and its influence can clearly be seen. The members of the Brittania Club are an interesting lot, they all have their own backstories, their own prejudices and loyalties, their own talents and blind spots.

Eric, our amateur detective, fought in Flanders. He has an unusual viewpoint, though, at least in mysteries I’ve read from the age. His father was British, an aristocrat, and his mother Chinese. Both are dead now, but Eric has a lot of his mother’s features, so although he belongs to the upper class, he’s still an outsider at the same time. He’s smart and a bit witty. I liked him. The end of this one makes it seem like he and his friend Avery will be solving another mystery soon and I hope that’s the case. Eric would make a good series detective.

The mystery itself was well-done and fair. Eric has a legitimate reason for both thinking and caring that the police are maybe not doing their best to solve the case. It’s a traditional mystery, the kind I enjoy. It moves pretty quickly and while the plot seems a little convoluted, I think in the end all the strings tie together well. I loved the good old-fashioned denouement—another thing I’m a sucker for.

A Gentleman’s Murder is just a good, solid historical mystery. I’d definitely recommend it.

This counts as 3 pts in the COYER Treasure Hunt  (a book set in the 1920’s).

About Christopher Huang

Christopher Huang was born in Singapore, where he lived out the first seventeen years of his life. He moved to Canada in the expectation of cooler weather, returning to Singapore the following year to serve his two years of National Service in the Singapore Army. He studied architecture at McGill University, and lived the next twenty-odd years in Montreal. He now lives in Calgary, Alberta.

A longtime fan of the principles of fair play governing the mystery genre, he thinks of detective stories as an early form of interactive fiction. He is, of course, very fond of modern interactive fiction as well.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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