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Tuesday 13 January 2015

‘Deeds of Darkness’ by Edward Marston

Published by Allison & Busby,
15 December 2014.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-1519-0

Throughout the book, darkness is the prevailing theme. It is June 1916 and the Great War has reached one of its darkest times, the Battle of the Somme. On the Home Front, evil deeds are being committed under the cover of darkness when a young woman is murdered in the cinema during a Charlie Chaplin film.

As DI Harvey Marmion and DS Joe Keedy investigate, the murderer strikes again, plunging the public into panic as the newspapers publish frenzied demands that the police find the killer without further delay.

Alice Marmion is the DI's daughter and DS Keedy's fiancée. Alice is a policewoman in the newly formed branch of the service and she has a taste of the darker side of her job when she is put on night duty. At the same time there is a grievous blow to the family when Marmion's son, Paul, is wounded in the trenches and, when he recovers consciousness, discovers that he is blind.Marmion and Keedy cannot allow this cruel blow to their family to distract them from the pursuit of a disturbed and ruthless killer, who targets and woos his victims and steals 'trophies' from them after their deaths. They know that this murderer will not stop until he is caught.

Deeds of Darkness is an excellent mystery and the author uses numerous viewpoints with great skill to enhance the story. Marston's research commands total belief as does his portrayal of the attitudes of the time. This is the 4th in the Home Front series and Marston continues to develop all his characters with subtle touches, bringing life to even the peripheral characters and showing that nobody is all black or all white, as when the jealous senior policewoman who has been picking on Alice Marmion shows great sensitivity when dealing with a distraught witness. Deeds of Darkness stands very well alone and I would recommend it as an excellent read, but I would urge readers who enjoy historical crime to start at the first book in the series (A Bespoke Murder) and read through from there.

Deeds of Darkness is a beautifully crafted description of the time, with many interesting historical details. It is also a fascinating and, at times, chilling, police procedural with a likeable central cast of characters. I would recommend it.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Edward Marston was born and brought up in South Wales. A full-time writer for over thirty years, he has worked in radio, film, television and the theatre and is a former chairman of the Crime Writers' Association. Prolific and highly successful, he is equally at home writing children's books or literary criticism, plays or biographies.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.

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