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Monday 15 January 2018

‘Night Shelter’ by Gil Hogg

Published by Matador,
28 October 2017. 
ISBN: 978-1-78803363-3

One night when Jimmy Morton, a supervisor at St. Edith's Night Shelter for the homeless is helping out, his old landlady Betty Thrussell comes to him very distraught. She has found a girl's body in her flat and wants Jimmy to get rid of her. He recognises the dead girl as Eva a local prostitute and refuses to move the body. He wants to call the police, but Betty is adamant that he doesn't.

Late that night a friend of Jimmy's, Toby, persuades him to help clear up the mess at a local pub after there has been a party held there. It soon becomes obvious that it was no ordinary party, there is evidence of sex and drugs and Jimmy is pretty convinced this is where the murder took place.

The local police are obviously in the hands of the highly important men who were at the party, some of whom are members of the Board of St. Edith's. Jimmy is taken to the police station and is “slapped around” but he insists on his innocence and how he saw the body in Betty's flat, and they have to let him go.

Meanwhile a young girl calling herself Josie turns up at the Shelter with her dog. Jimmy looks after her and takes them out begging with him. The Night Shelter has a great scam going, sending people out to beg on the streets making out they are collecting for a St. Bernard's Dog's Home and then pocketing the proceeds. The beggars actually get paid a wage.

When the police bring in a Chief Inspector Dan Hamish, Jimmy has hopes of him uncovering the truth, but he is retiring in six months and doesn't want to make waves. Jimmy then decides to make enquiries of his own and it soon becomes clear Josie is not all that she seems much to his consternation. He then takes an interest in a very articulate ex-public-school boy, Catesby, one of the members of the Board of St. Edith's, and who was at the party. Certain revelations lead him to suspect him of Eva's murder, but he can prove nothing. How can he bring about his arrest and emerge unscathed? Catesby has many friends in high places and seems above reproach. Jimmy must be very careful.

It seems there is no justice but there is a final satisfying twist which makes Jimmy and Toby smile.

A very interesting book giving a great insight into the seedy side of London. It was so well described I could almost smell it. It also delves into suspected corruption within the police force and high places, especially among the pals from public schools. Recommended.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Gil Hogg graduated in law, worked as a lawyer in private practice, as a senior crown counsel in Hong Kong, and then as a senior executive at British Gas.  He is the author of 9 previous books, most recently Rendezvous with Death (Matador, 2016) and The Unforgiving Shore (Matador, 2015). His contemporary fiction draws on his personal experience and often on the background to cases he has handed as a former lawyer involving fraud and violence.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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