Book Review: A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper—and a Giveaway!

A Knife in the Fog
Bradley Harper
Seventh Street Books, October 2018
ISBN 978-1-63388-487-8
Trade Paperback

Jack the Ripper and Arthur Conan Doyle clash in this story and with the help of Dr. Joseph Bell, on whom Doyle supposedly based his fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, an investigative trio is created. More fun yet, is that the Dr. Watson of the story is not Doyle himself, but a woman, Margaret Harkness, a writer of extraordinary wit and intelligence, who lives in the East End.

History says the man who claimed the sobriquet “Jack the Ripper” was never discovered, although the gruesome murders he perpetrated upon the prostitutes of Whitechapel abruptly ceased. No one actually knows why. In this story, the author shows the reader why, and frankly, I can’t imagine a more fitting reason.

Although the quasi-romance aspects of the story seemed a bit half-hearted, I felt all the characters suited to the parts they played. The writing is good, the characters well fleshed out, and the action well depicted. The historical aspects of the setting and the attitudes of the people, both high and low, including politics and racial/class discrimination, are very well done.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, March 2019.
Author of Five Days, Five Dead, Hereafter and Hometown Homicide.

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To enter the drawing for a print copy
of A Knife in the Fog, just leave a
comment below. The winning name will
be drawn on Sunday night, April 7th.
This drawing is open to the US and Canada.

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Book Review: Green and Pleasant Land by Judith Cutler

Green and Pleasant LandGreen and Pleasant Land
A Fran Harman Mystery #6
Judith Cutler
Severn House, April 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8465-7
Hardcover

Irony, conspiracy, anger, abuse and police corruption, judiciously blended with persistent bad weather. What more can regular readers of British crime fiction expect or desire? Author Cutler is an experienced successful author with many solid novels to her credit so readers will expect and receive everything a well-conceived examination of a water-soaked community, West Mercia, in Northern England will entail.

Two former cops with sterling records, Fran Harman and her husband, Mark Turner, now retired from the active police service are called north to help a newly conjoined police force in clearing out their old unsolved cases. In this instance, it’s the disappearance of a popular member of the community, married to an even better known footballer. Ten years earlier, Natalie Foreman, mother of two boys, and wife of star striker Phillip Foreman, disappeared, leaving behind in her sedan beside the roadway, one dead son. Her body and that of her other son, Hadrian, are never found. Foul weather hampered the search. Hence the case is still open.

Fran and Mark are disconcerted to discover, upon arrival, per their contract, that there are forces arrayed against them, some blatant, others more subtle and thus more dangerous. They have to sort through a lot of stuff including personal attacks to solve the mystery.

The writing is excellent, smooth and consistently logical. The opening prologue is like a sock in the gut. Character development is also excellent with some interesting and unusual characters, scenes are well-tended and the narrative is tightly secured.

The novel moves well, although there are instances toward the end which seem a bit convenient and somewhat hurried. Still, a reader is left to contemplate a nicely presented turn of moral complication at the end. And a reader would ponder long over whether to move to reside in such a green and unpleasant land.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, January 2015.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.