Arrowood – Mick Finlay
1895: London’s scared. A killer haunts the city’s streets. The poor are hungry; crime bosses are taking control; the police force stretched to breaking point.
While the rich turn to Sherlock Holmes, the celebrated private detective rarely visits the densely populated streets of South London, where the crimes are sleazier and the people are poorer.
In a dark corner of Southwark, victims turn to a man who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime: Arrowood – self-taught psychologist, occasional drunkard and private investigator.
When a man mysteriously disappears and Arrowood’s best lead is viciously stabbed before his eyes, he and his sidekick Barnett face their toughest quest yet: to capture the head of the most notorious gang in London…
My thanks to HQ for my review copy which I received through Netgalley
This was fun.
Arrowood lives and works in London as an investigator. Unfortunately for him he finds himself competing for work against Mr Sherlock Holmes – a man who Arrowood believes benefits from good reporting but is (in Arrowood’s opinion) not as great as his reputation suggests.
Struggling for money Arrowood is given a fiscal lifeline when a woman tries to engage his services to locate her missing brother. Her seemingly simple request will lead Arrowood and his companion Barnett on a trail around some of the darker sides of Victorian London and will place them in danger on more than one occasion. Through the pubs and inns Arrowood and Barnett will bribe, cajole and intimidate the staff of the finer houses and will dig deeper into the puzzle of the missing man. But they are not the only ones looking and the stakes will be raised as a potential witness is murdered in front of their eyes.
The author does a great job of bringing Victorian London to life and the characters encountered are frequently rough and ready. Arrowood is not the most heroic of lead characters, frequently deferring the unpleasant tasks to Barnett and hiding until it is safe to emerge. But he is not adverse to breaking the law to achieve a result and this made for entertaining reading.
I don’t read many historical novels but Arrowood was pitched just right and captured the feeling of time and place that allowed the story to flow.
If you have enjoyed Sherlock Holmes stories then this tale of one of his rivals is well worth seeking out.
Arrowood is published in Hardback and Digital format by HQ. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Arrowood-Mick-Finlay/dp/0008203180/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1494885614&sr=1-1