Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Striking Murder
Lancashire Detective - Book I
A J Wright

Allison and Busby
21 January 2016/ ISBN 9780749019341
Mystery / Historical / 1893 England

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde



It is 1893 and Wigan is in the clutches of both an exceptionally cold winter and a national miners’ strike. As the miners and their families shiver and starve, the colliery owner Arthur Morris, who wanted them to take a 25% cut in their pay, goes out on a freezing night and meets his death. As just about everybody wanted to kill him, what was he doing out when he should have been at a dinner party, and in the roughest area of town too? It is up to Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan to discover whodunit.

This is the first of a pair of novels about Brennan, and the author skillfully sets the scene in just a few short paragraphs. You can almost feel the icy air and sense the poverty and desperation, as well as the uneasy ambience of the wealthier inhabitants’ homes and their many secrets. Brennan is Irish, as are many of the miners, and he has to tread a careful path between his sympathy for their plight and his sense of justice. The book has been likened to the work of Edward Marston, and although there is some similarity, this is a darker, less humorous look at the times and what it might really have been like. This could be described as a traditional mystery with a rather linear plot; more strands to it would have made for an even better tale. In parts it does tread water a little and it is not impossible to guess whodunit and why, but the descriptions and the thought provoking mirror it holds up to our own troubled times makes it well worth reading. I will be seeking out the sequel and wishing the series was going to be longer, as there is a lot here to explore.

Other reviews in this series

Striking Murder #1
Elementary Murder #2
Sitting Murder #3

Reviewed 2016