Morris, R N - 'The Dark Palace'
It is April, 1914. Detective Inspector Silas Quinn is still in charge of the Special Crimes Unit of Scotland Yard and he is commissioned by his superiors to look for German spy activity as a world war is thought to be rapidly approaching. He is assisted in these endeavours by his Detective Sergeants MacAdam and Inchball. They decide to set up a clandestine filming unit outside a German barber in Piccadilly, but Silas decides to attend the prestigious evening premiere of the new silent film by the notorious Austrian film-maker Konrad Waechter. Unfortunately, this glamorous evening in Leicester Square is disturbed by the ear-splitting screams of a young woman in the road outside. She has been maliciously mutilated in an grisly attack which weirdly echoes a gruesome act of violence in Waechter’s film. Along with Macadam and Inchball, Silas is soon drawn into a shadowy world behind the burgeoning success of cinema and finds out how easily appearances can be deceptive. This fairly short book rapidly rushes onto the dramatic and exciting conclusion.
THE DARK PALACE is another atmospheric and deftly plotted book featuring Silas Quinn (the third in the series). Expertly researched and full of excellent period detail as this author has proved in the past with these books of very richly drawn characters. His other series, the St Petersburg Russian historical crime mysteries featuring Porfiry Petrovitch - the investigator from Crime and Punishment is also evocatively researched. Some of this story will not be for those with a weak stomach as it is very bloody in parts. Silas Quinn himself is a character that becomes more interesting with each passing book as more of his back-story and personality is revealed.
This is the fourth book that I have read by this very talented historical crime author. The books are always full of excellent period detail which is very difficult to fault and really transports you back into the early twentieth century. The plot which is full of dramatic twists and turns, kept me entertained and transfixed until the very last page. I did not want this book to end, it was such a fascinating historical page turner. May this author write many more novels of this high quality in the future. Recommended.
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Terry Halligan, England