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The Murder Pit Paperback – 16 January 2019
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PRAISE FOR THE MURDER PIT:
‘Another brilliant read from Mick Finlay . . . even better than [Arrowood]’ B.A. Paris
‘gripping’ Daily Telegraph
‘astounding … If you crave Victorian age murder mystery, love darkly gothic atmospheres and want your detective rather tattered and torn at the edges Arrowood is your man.’ SHOTS
‘Enthralling’ Publishers Weekly (starred review)
‘A gripping novel with an adept sense of place as well as a clear-eyed examination of the dark exigencies of human behaviour’ Crime Time
PRAISE FOR MICK FINLAY:
‘Arrowood is a flawed but engaging hero and the plot spins from peril to twist and back with real panache’ The Times
‘A fantastic creation’ The Spectator
‘Richly inventive’ Daily Telegraph
‘Compelling’ Seattle Times
‘Strongly reminiscent of Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels…a memorable detective who can stand among the best’ Harrow Times
‘Arrowood feels… like he's always existed, we're only now being treated to an introduction. Mick Finlay's atmospheric, detailed, singular London is a terrifying place I hope to return to again and again.’ Ross Armstrong, bestselling author of The Watcher
‘If you ever thought the Sherlock Holmes stories might benefit from being steeped in gin, caked in grime and then left unwashed for weeks…Mick Finlay’s 1895-set detective debut is for you.’ Crime Scene
‘A book with enough warmth, charm, humour, and intrigue to signal the start of an excellent new series.’ Vaseem Khan, author of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
‘Stunningly dark and atmospheric crime debut. This is a story that packs a powerful punch. With murder, intrigue, dark humour, compelling characters and an extraordinary backdrop, it’s to be hoped that Arrowood is just the opener for a thrilling and original new series.’ Lancashire Evening Post
A gripping escapist historical crime fiction thriller for fans of Andrew Taylor
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Top international reviews
Mr. Finlay has a sound grasp of this particular aspect of Victorian social history, and a good enough knowledge of 19th-Century London, to make the setting and the action entirely authentic and plausible.
I could go on and on about how outstanding this novel is (the interplay of drama, action and comedy, for instance, or Barnett's narrative, or the poignancy surrounding him), but other reviewers have covered all the bases, Highly recommended if you love this 'genre' (I hate that word).
I loved Mick Finlay's first account of Arrowood, the down at heel detective at the arse-end of Victorian society, picking up cases from the poor and needy rather than the high-society, high reward cases that his rival Sherlock Holmes gets.
At least, he sees himself as a rival. He's a kind but rather pompous man who cannot bear to read of Holmes's successes in the papers - his reactions are always amusing, and well done.
His assistant, Barnett, is in many ways the practical, pragmatic influence in the partnership. He narrates the story in a weary but affectionate streetwise Victorian cockney style, with some deliciously written language that really tickled me - really good characterisation keeps the story vivid at all times.
I like the way that, because the same characters run through the tales, we get the fast-paced developments of the crime-solving plot as well as the slower paced, longer story arc of the central chatacters' lives and relationships. Very enjoyable to read.
The case this time is about a girl with Down's Syndrome. An author's note explains that this term wasn't used until the 1970s, and that in Victorian times they were known as Mongols, and sometimes even 'Mongolian Idiots' ('idiot', 'cretin' and 'moron' having originally been terms used in that time for people with different degrees of low intellectual capability).
He explains that these terms might be offensive these days, but that he had to remain true to the Manchester is the time, and I wholeheartedly agree with him - by including these words, the story reveals so much more about attitudes towards those with special needs. It's sensitively done.
The girl has been married off to a very dodgy family - against her will, according to her parents. But as they dig deeper, all is not as it seems (as usual with detective books!)
I've found it hard to read books recently - I think it's all the internet surfing - but this one had a lure strong enough to pull me in, and keep me turning the pages.
There are bleak moments, funny moments - all of the grimy state of Victorian London humanity exists within these pages; reading them felt like watching a sepia-toned photo come springing into life.
A great series is building here. Mick's enjoyment and pleasure in writing this really shine through and gives us, as readers, double when we read it.
There is no need to read the first one first, as I didn't spot many references to the previous book, and certainly not any spoilers - but it's always good to read them in chronological order.
My favourite read of the year so far.