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Saturday, 19 March 2016

'Direct Hit: the Blitz Detective' by Mike Hollow

Published by Lion Fiction,
9 March 2015.
ISBN 978-1-78264-127-8

Where do you hide a body?  On a battlefield.  This suggestion is carried through in this book with the discovery of a body on the first night of the London Blitz - the body is seen by 2 detectives but before they can get it to the pathologist a bomb eliminates the body in the van in which it was found.    Detective Inspector John Jago is in charge of the case and he can carry on his investigation since he was able to identify the corpse - he saw the man's identity card and recognised him as a local JP, Charles Villiers.  Villiers was an unpleasant personality and even his wife and son are relatively unmoved by his death.

Jago is a veteran of WW1 and finds the air raids a problem in that they remind him of his war experiences and make him unable to move!  He gradually establishes ways of dealing with the raids which is good since they are a major feature of this time in WW2 and within this story. 

Villiers turns out to have many enemies and to be a very dodgy citizen despite his position - in fact his harshness on the Bench has gained him some of those enemies.  Jago and his rather hapless new assistant, Detective Constable Cradock, follow a number of leads about the dubious activities of Villiers.  Jago's work is complicated by the American journalist whom he is asked to escort to the London sights.

The period background is well presented here and it is of course, an extremely dramatic one.    Mike Hollow has an excellent knowledge of WW2 and the London bombing so he enriches his book with his references to contemporary life.

The mystery here is well presented and successfully solved.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is the first book of a series with the second due to be published on March 18th.

Mike Hollow was born in West Ham, on the eastern edge of London, and grew up in Romford, Essex. He studied Russian and French at the University of Cambridge and then worked for the BBC and later Tearfund. In 2002 he went freelance as a copywriter, journalist and editor. He's a published poet, and nowadays when not writing about the Blitz Detective he makes his living as a translator.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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