Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Architect of Murder -- Rafe McGregor

Rafe McGregor maintains an excellent blog, well worth your time. He's also the author of a fine new novel, The Architect of Murder, published by Robert Hale.

The story involves a number of real and fictional characters, including Cecil John Rhodes, whose last will and testament kick off the events of the book. One of the witnesses to Rhodes's will,
Eric Lowenstein, is murdered. Scotland Yard's Superintendent Melville, head of the Special Branch, recruits Major Alec Marshall VC, just back from the fighting in South Africa to help investigate. As it happens, Marshall's sister has also recently died under mysterious circumstances. If you're a mystery reader, you already know that the two events will turn out to be connected.

The setting is London, 1902, and it's evoked quite well. If you know a little bit about the history of the time and the events in South Africa, you'll probably enjoy the book even more. There's some dandy police procedure (McGregor is a Sherlockian), and plenty of interesting characters to carry the story along. Not to mention action. Even a swordfight! I got a kick out of some of the things I thought of as little in-jokes (Melville is referred to once or twice as "Mr. M." and there's also a "Mr. Q.") The plot has plenty of twists, and I suspect that hardly anyone will figure out all of them. I know I didn't.

The Architect of Murder looks like a hit to me. The ending plainly sets the stage for a sequel, and I think we'll see one for sure.


Richard Robinson said...

Bill, based on your comments, I've ordered it. Looks very interesting indeed! Apparently it will be available, based on "publication date" on Feb 27.

Coincidently, I just read R. HOLMES & CO by John Kendrick Bangs, which was published in 1902, when this novel takes place.

My god, books are wonderful!

(sorry I posted this by accident in the next topic up, maybe you can dump that one)

Bill Crider said...

Man, now I feel responsible! I'm blaming Rafe McGregor if you hate it.