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Friday 7 September 2018

‘The Dead on Leave’ by Chris Nickson

Published by Endeavour Quill,
18 June 2018.
ISBN: 978-1911445616 (PB)
The setting is Leeds in late September 1936 just as the Abdication crisis is brewing.  The police in Leeds have a more pressing problem as the British Union of Fascists has arranged a march with Oswald Mosley as the speaker.   It is obvious that there will be trouble with the local Communists, but no-one expects the discovery of a dead body.

Detective Sergeant Urban Raven is given the investigation and finds that the victim is a hated means inspector.  There is little on which he can base his enquiries, but he tries to interview people who might have some knowledge.  This is the Depression, so Leeds is full of unemployed and desperate men.  Raven finds that the dead man enjoyed bullying those he investigated.

Raven and the other policemen find themselves hampered by intra-police rivalries, an intrusive and inaccurate Press and political machinations.  Nevertheless, Raven battles on as more deaths occur and his private life gets more complex.

The atmosphere of a working-class city under the oppression of the Depression is beautifully shown with the overall grinding poverty always present.

Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Chris Nickson has written extensively within a Yorkshire setting with several series set in different eras - 1820s, 1890s, 1950s and a number of stand-alones.

Chris Nickson was born and raised in Leeds. He is the author of the Richard Nottingham books, historical mysteries set in Leeds in the 1730s and featuring Richard Nottingham, the Constable of the city, and his deputy, John Sedgwick. The books are about more than murder. They're about the people of Leeds and the way life was - which mean full of grinding poverty for all but the wealthy. They're also about families, Nottingham and his and Sedgwick, and the way relationships grow and change, as well as the politics, when there was one law for the rich, and another, much more brutal, for everyone else. In addition to this Chris is also a music journalist, reviewing for magazines and online outlets

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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