30 December 2015

Review: FALL FROM GRACE, David Ashton

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 510 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn (May 1, 2011)
    Originally published in 2007
  • Publication Date: May 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WB2B7Q
  • #2 in the Inspector McLevy Mystery series
Synopsis  (Amazon)

The second in a new series of McLevy books, Fall from Grace revolves around the terrible Tay Bridge disaster. The story begins with a break-in and murder at the Edinburgh home of Sir Thomas Bouch, the enigmatic, egotistical builder of the Tay Bridge. McLevy is brought in to investigate. With the help of brothel madam Jean Brash, McLevy finds the murderer, but there is much, much more to unfold: murder, arson, sexual obsession and suicide.

My take

The book begins in Edinburgh in 1880 with the closure of a case that began with the murder of a butler nearly a year before. The story is told with the narration flitting between current events and those that had taken place in the previous year. Occasionally we also get a glimpse of McLevy's childhood for one of the characters in the current tale is Herkie, his childhood nemesis.

McLevy's sergeant, Martin Mullholland, is in love, and he has bought the ring, but his beloved, Emily is well below him in social status, and as luck would have it, her father is an unbending and unsympathetic man.

A warehouse fire has resulted in the contents of the warehouse being incinerated and in the middle of the ashes, a very charred corpse. The warehouse owner is filing an insurance claim and the insurance assessor is Robert Forbes, Emily's father. McLevy believes the fire is arson, and that the warehouse owner is involved in fraud. However Forbes, a former policeman, decides to approve the claim.

This is a multi-stranded plot, and it took me a time to grab hold of the individual strands, so to speak. They are cleverly manipulated towards a conclusion, but things do not always go well for Inspector McLevy. Along the way we have time to consider how policing methods have changed.

My rating: 4.4
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