A Scream in Soho

A SCREAM IN SOHO: A BRITISH LIBRARY CRIME CLASSIC

BY JOHN G. BRANDON

soho

This is definitely one of the better books from the British Library’s recently republished Crime Classic series. As with the other novels in this series it is a thing of beauty. They all have magnificent cover illustrations and quality pages that have made them hugely popular and highly collectible among my friends and fellow bookworms. For some of these books, sadly, the cover remains the best thing about them but thankfully this is not the case here.

Brandon’s story is a gruesome and gripping caper around London’s Soho set during the blackouts of the Second World War. A piercing scream rings out in the night and a bloodied knife is found. Our hero, Detective Inspector McCarthy, is soon on the scene and following a hunch. This is a gloriously dark, seedy Soho underworld full of Italian gangsters, cross dressing German spies and glamorous Austrian aristocrats.

Wry McCarthy is likeable and engaging for the reader as he attempts to unravel the connection between some brutal killings and the theft of the secret defence plans. There are exciting fight scenes and chases and a pleasurable, gentle amount of suspense and drama. The supporting cast flesh out the story well and knowing the area well like I do I was able to picture the streets as McCarthy hightailed after his icy-eyed villain.

Good read.

SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 7/10

Notes on the author – John G. Brandon:

  • Lived 1879-1941
  • Austrian born crime writer who lived in England
  • Author of 100+ detective novels

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

BY ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

sherlock

This wonderful take on our favourite Sherlock Holmes stories is part of a new series called Classics Reimagined. For art and book lovers alike, these collectible titles are each illustrated by graphic artists and illustrators from around the world. Each artist offers their own unique visual interpretation of the most loved and read literature from renowned authors. The results are stunning!

I had been eyeing up this particular volume in my local Blackwells for some weeks before I bought it. Then payday came and it was mine! The cover is soft and luxurious, the pages thick and glossy, the artwork modern and thrilling and of course the twelve stories within are absolutely brilliant.

The 12 gripping crime stories in this book are:

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia
  2. The Red-Headed League
  3. A Case of Identity
  4. The Boscombe Valley Mystery
  5. The Five Orange Pips
  6. The Main with the Twisted Lip
  7. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
  8. The Adventure of the Speckled Band
  9. The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
  10. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
  11. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
  12. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Conan Doyle’s Holmes would only deal with the unusual or fantastic cases. He enjoyed experiences that combined the striking, the bizarre and the criminal. He saw applying his clever logic to help out the frantic characters that knocked at his Baker Street door, as his art. My favourite of these excellent tales was the Red-Headed League which presented Holmes with “quite the three pipe problem.” I also particularly enjoyed The Five Orange Pips and The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. Continue reading

A tale of the unexpected

THE DEAD IN THEIR VAULTED ARCHES

BY ALAN BRADLEY

My friend Jane insisted that I promote this to the top of my reading pile after she devoured it on a trip to Cornwall this summer. And so I did. It didn’t take a lot of persuading as we are both such ardent fans of Flavia de luce and the Buckshaw clan.

The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches is the sixth book (and please not the last!) of this tremendously entertaining series. We pick up where Speaking From Among The Bones left off, waiting for Flavia’s mother to return after being presumed dead in Tibet for the last decade.

A specially commisioned train brings Harriett back to Buckshaw setting off a number of gruesome events and incredible revelations that unlock the sercrets of her past and unravels the details of young Flavia’s destiny. Continue reading

Fantastic fifth mystery with Flavia

SPEAKING FROM AMONG THE BONES: FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY 5

BY ALAN BRADLEY

Speaking from among the bones cover

 

The delightful eleven-year-old amateur sleuth is back! This is the fifth book in the Flavia de Luce series – my most favourite detective series of all. Not at all run of the mill and bursting full of hilarious characters and ghastly murders, Alan Bradley’s cult books are almost impossible to put down.

In this story the tomb of St Tancred is opened to reveal the body of the popular church organist lying in a pool of blood with a gas mask covering his once handsome face.

Our budding chemist and detective Flavia immediately engages her marvellous powers of deduction, not to mention eavesdropping and snooping, to lead her deep into the past, to a strange story of lost manuscripts and the precious Heart of Lucifer stone.

Accompanied by her trusty bicycle Gladys and with the use of the chemical laboratory at the family down at heel Buckshaw home, Flavia is as ever one step ahead of the police and the killers alike. Continue reading