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The Age of Treachery
A Duncan Forrester Mystery - Book I
Gavin Scott

Titan Books
12 April 2016 / ISBN-13: 9781783297801

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Oxford 1946 and ex-Special Operations Executive agent Duncan Forrester is back from the war and working in the university's Ancient History Department as a junior fellow. One evening at a reading of the sagas by a visiting Norwegian academic the peace is shattered by a hail of broken glass and the sight of a body tumbling to the earth. The dead man was an unpopular colleague, and soon the police make an arrest. But Forrester is sure the man is innocent, and sets out to prove it.

This is the first in a new series and it certainly hits the ground running, managing to keep up the pace with Olympic proficiency. You can almost taste bleak, austere 1946 with this author's brief but evocative descriptions; the war having changed everybody, worries about Communism, lack of goods in the shops and a general feeling of uncertainty. The plot is an imaginative mix of Viking sagas, Norwegian fjords, a shattered postwar Germany and hints of black magic, something like Dennis Wheatley meets Inspector Morse. There is something going on all the time, whether an exciting chase through the forest, a description of academic life in Oxford or Forrester getting to finally unmask the killer (I didn't guess whodunit). Forrester himself is a believable mix of the intellectual and the man of action, holding his own in both college politics and out in the field having adventures. The whole is a recipe for success and I hope will be the first of many; if they are all as good as this it certainly ought to be.

Reviewed 2016