The Great Darkness

Jim Kelly. Allison & Busby, $12.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7490-2161-0
During a blackout a month after the start of WWII, Det. Insp. Eden Brooke, the hero of Kelly’s solid series launch, is taking a midnight swim in the River Cam in Cambridge, England, when he overhears a platoon of soldiers on the shore. The men are burying something with a “sticky sweet smell” in a pit. Brooke, a veteran of WWI, later tries to sort out exactly what the men were up to. But before he can get any answers, he learns that an American scientist, Dr. Ernst Lux, who was working at Cambridge University has died, apparently after becoming entangled in the netting of a stray barrage balloon. In the morgue, Brooke notices that Lux’s shoes are on the wrong feet, and he suspects that the man’s death was no accident. He soon gets on the trail of black marketers and a covert government experiment. Kelly has created twistier puzzles in his Philip Dryden series (The Funeral Owl, etc.), but he makes good use of his chosen setting to portray the challenges of domestic policing during wartime. Fans of TV’s Foyle’s War will be delighted. Agent: Faith Evans, Faith Evans Assoc. (U.K.). (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
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