Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Robert Hale
Release Date: January 2004
ISBN: 0709075537
Format Reviewed: Hardback
Buy it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Genre: Historical Crime [1893 Warwickshire, UK]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

The Ancaster Demons
By Norman Russell

       There is something very special about Norman Russell. He seems to delight in resurrecting out-of-fashion sub-genres, dusting them off, and presenting them as something fresh and new. He has given us gothic tales of haunted governesses, strange goings-on in hidden villages and in his last book a Boy's Own spy yarn that almost had Sherlock Holmes looming out of the London fog. This time he dishes up a cathedral town a la Anthony Trollope with a slightly M R James spicing and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor. Highly-strung Prebendary Nicholas Arkwright has long nurtured a seething hatred for Dean Girdlestone. Even at the tender age of fourteen he tried to kill him, but ended up saving his life instead. The Dean has taken the woman he loves, the job he desires and is now trying to spoil the cathedral itself – he has got to go. But when he is found dead during the Ancaster Revel, who has actually committed the crime?

       With tremendous gusto Russell adds the amiable duo of Inspector Jackson and Sergeant Bottomley to another enjoyable yarn. There is the inevitable fresh young miss in peril, the slightly fantastic ambiance of the cathedral town and the ruthless politicking of the higher clergy, not to mention those “demons” on the cathedral roof. I didn’t find the killer difficult to unmask but with so much else going on it didn’t matter as much as it might have in less practised hands. I do hope Norman Russell goes on swimming against the tide and confecting these gothic treats.