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Blade of the Assassin

by Guy Fraser

      Glasgow Centralís Detective Department is in the capable hands of Superintendent Jarrett, Inspector Grant and Sergeant Quinn, and they have three crimes to solve in this exciting debut novel. When an unknown man is found dead, it leads them to arrest the wrought iron worker he has been lodging with, but has he really done the deed and why? Then there is a pornographer rather closer to home, a lunatic out for revenge and corruption in high places to deal with.

So much happens in this novel that I couldnít quite believe the author managed to cram it all into just over 200 pages, but he has. There is so much that for once I felt the book could have done with being longer, as this would have allowed space for developing each plot strand further, and fleshing out the thinner parts. Despite my enjoyment of this laconic and thrilling tale, I kept thinking I was reading about Victorian London. Most novels dealing with 19th century detectives are set there in a foggy, gaslit Jack The Ripper haunted ambience, so I was pleased this one is more original. This one is set in Glasgow and rather earlier in time, but sadly there is little or no feeling for the city at all. I would not have wanted all the dialogue to have been in broad Glaswegian, but some sense of this could have been conveyed and more description of the place would have been excellent. If the author deals with these matters then this will be a series to be reckoned with, as I certainly cannot fault the place or the involving and rather creative plots.

The Book

Robert Hale
October 2007
Historical Crime [1863, Glasgow, Scotland]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007