on May 21, 2013
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Also by this author: The Yard, The Yard, The Black Country
Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad returns.
The British Midlands. It’s called the “Black Country” for a reason. Bad things happen there.
When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Fresh off the grisly 1889 murders of The Yard, Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, but they have no idea what they’re about to get into. The villagers have intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. Superstitions abound. And the village itself is slowly sinking into the mines beneath it.
Not even the arrival of forensics pioneer Dr. Bernard Kingsley seems to help. In fact, the more the three of them investigate, the more they realize they may never be allowed to leave. . . .
Here is what I thought
It’s been several years since I read The Yard and I am happy to say that it didn’t hinder my reading enjoyment so I can say that it could probably be read on its own though I am and advocate for reading series in order…lol.
When a married couple and their young child goes missing leaving their three older children alone Constable Grimes decides to ask for some help from London. Inspector Day and Sergeant Hammersmith from the “Murder Squad” (a group of 12 detectives put together to try and solve harsh crimes after Jack The Ripper).
The small Midland town known to others as The Black Country is a strange little town. Blackhampton is full of superstitious folk who don’t even want to lift a hand to help look for those who are missing because they believe that Rawhead and Bloodybones, a made up superstition about something that comes and takes you to the mines. Day and Hammersmith don’t believe in superstitions and Grimes doesn’t much either which is why he is asking for help.
A freak spring snowstorm is making things complicated as they decide to go out and search the woods. Besides Day, Hammersmith and Grimes there is only one other who wants to go with them and help and he is a newcomer to town named Calvin Campbell. Day doesn’t trust him as he won’t say what his interest in finding the little boy Oliver is, but they need help and lets him come.
Besides searching for the missing we also learn that there is a horrible sickness that has befeld the townspeople and that more than half of them are sick. There is also another storyline involving The American, whom we get bits and pieces of called Interludes so that we can piece together the reason he is there and who he is hunting.
More than half way through the novel we start seeing things get pieced together and it reads really fast as you are wanting to know exactly what has happened. I did figure out most of it though a few things surprised me but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this book because of certain things that happened at the end that I didn’t see coming.
I really like Inspector Day and Sergeant Hammersmith and remember them from the first book. Day is a very realistic character as he is expecting his first child and is very worried about not being there when it happens. He is only suppose to be gone for a few days but the way this case is going he is not sure if that will happen. Hammersmith is a very stubborn man who won’t let getting sick, being hit in the head, etc stop him from finding out the truth about what happened. I haven’t mentioned Dr. Kingsley but he is another part of the squad who comes later on to help and has his hands full with the sick in town and trying to help the police with their inquiries. All very likeable characters.
If you love historical mysteries I highly recommend this series as I found this one to be most enjoyable!