Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Review: A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang

A Gentleman's Murder
The premises: a bet between two men in a London gentleman's club leads to murder in 1924.

Its a bit of a homage to the classic detective stories of the 1920s and 1930s, with a touch of the locked room mystery thrown in. But don't let that put you off - it is done remarkably well.

The main character - Eric Peterkin - is a veteran of WWI and member of the Britannia Club (a returned service-mens' club), where events take place. Despite the long family tradition of membership, Eric is a bit of an anomaly - he is a half-caste amid the snobbery of the upper echelons of pre-war Edwardian Britain. Author Huang imparts his own background onto Peterkin, which gives authenticity to Peterkin's struggles to fit into a society which whilst transitioning into the modern world, still finds the ties to the "old ways" hard to break.

There is the usual cast of suspects - for where would we be without those that give own detective the impetus to investigate what he considers his duty to the dead man .... " good or bad, the Empire owes a debt to each and every man in the Britannia ..." Each with their own secrets, foibles, and it is their collective link to the past that draws the reader ever deeper into the mystery.

Huang carefully weaves the threads of these stories together, all the while sending us off in different directions that we wonder just where we are being led, and how will it all tie together. rest assured, it does in the climatic last chapters.

What I also found enjoyable was Huang's wrap up at the end - his epilogue - wherein we are treated to why the author chose the period he did and his choice of the style of detective for the main character. I am always interested as to where authors find their inspiration, and why they choose a particular era, etc.

A first novel for Huang, but let us hope not the last.

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