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A Bespoke Murder
The Home Front Detective Series, No 1
Edward Marston

Allison and Busby
26 September 2011 (US 15 December 2011) / ISBN 9780749009908
Historical Mystery / 1915 / London, England
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

May 1915 and the Germans have just torpedoed the Lusitania. Anti-German feeling has caused some people to rise up against the Hun in their midst, and no German is safe. Jacob Stein’s tailor’s shop is burnt down one night, its owner murdered, and his daughter raped. Detective Inspector Harvey Marmion is assigned to the case, alongside Sergeant Joe Keedy, and the pair have to discover whodunit. But what exactly is the real motive behind such a planned murder?

In the wake of hit TV series Downton Abbey, I fancy we can expect both more tales of early 20th century country houses and WWI novels. This is very much the latter, only looking largely at what it was like in London during the conflict rather than in the more usual trenches. Opening with two of the main characters on the Lusitania, this one hits the ground running in fine style and is an entertaining way of learning more about certain aspects of the period. Anti-German riots, career opportunities for women, political ideas and a quick sortie into Belgium all add to the atmosphere. Typically for this author, you are sure not to be bored. At the heart of it all is a murder mystery, but I thought at times that the other aspects of the case were explained too early on and even more mystery would have made a good story even better. As the Railway Detective seriess has now ended, you can expect more in the same vein – a rousing opening to what is sure to be a popular new series.

Reviewer's Note: Rape scene
Reviewed 2011
© 2011