- Series: The Brighton Trilogy (Book 1)
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Severn House Publishers (June 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847512763
- ISBN-13: 978-1847512765
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,450,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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City of Dreadful Night (The Brighton Trilogy) Paperback – June 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In a botched effort to arrest a violent armed robber, police officers under the command of Chief Constable Robert Watts raid the wrong house and gun down four people at the outset of the strong first in British author Guttridge's Brighton trilogy. Watts publicly defends his officers, but pressure escalates for him to step down. His troubled marriage collapses after the press learns that he had an affair with Det. Sgt. Sarah Gilchrist, one of the members of the assault team. When long-lost papers surface relating to an unsolved 1934 case in which a woman's body parts were found in luggage left at railway stations, Watts ends up assisting a reporter who reopens the case. Despite a major coincidence that connects the two plot lines, Guttridge (Two to Tango) successfully pulls readers in, and many will be eager to pick up the dangling plot threads in the second book. (Dec.) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
An armed house arrest in Brighton goes horribly wrong, and Chief Constable Robert Watts’ career is on the line. Four people were killed in the operation (including a pregnant woman), and the operational commander committed suicide soon after. Watts is told to resign by his old friend, government fixer William Simpson. And when word leaks about Watts’ previous one-night stand with DC Sarah Gilchrist, who was in on the bungled arrest, both his job and his marriage are in tatters. As he enlists the help of security advisor James Tingley to get revenge for what he thinks was a setup, Watts also looks into a bizarre, unsolved murder case from 1934, investigated at the time by both his father and Simpson’s. This first of the projected Brighton trilogy leaves most of the answers about murders past and present decidedly up in the air. However, Guttridge has created a fine cast of fallible characters, and readers who can handle ambiguity—and are willing to wait for resolution through two more books—are likely to be amply rewarded. --Michele Leber --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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He is the crime fiction critic for a UK newspaper, and should have stayed there. His ill-fated foray into fiction is a cardinal lesson that being a a critic gives you no cred as a author.
Peter: Stick with being a critic. Your novels, including your ham-fisted Carry-On comic novels, are appalling. Please. Go home, pour yourself a whisky, put your feet up, stop writing, and spare the rest of us from your mediocre drebbidge.
The poem is available on Wikipedia and, in the comments about the poem, George Saintsbury, a literary critic of his day, wrote "what saves Thomson is the perfection with which he expresses the negative and hopeless side of the sense of mystery...."
Most mystery fanatics want resolutions for the problems that are thrown at the characters especially when most of the characters are likeable. Robert Watts, chief constable, Sarah Gilchrist, sergeant in the police, Kate Simpson, radio journalist, and James Tingley are decent people in their own ways. Resolutions do not come easily in CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT.
In this book , the city is Brighton, long a destination for those seeking the sea, entertainment, and escape. The book begins with news reports of the discovery of the torso of a woman's body in a trunk in the Left Luggage area of Brighton Central Railway Station. The legs are discovered at the King's Cross Station Luggage Office. It is July, 1934.
The Milldean housing estate in Brighton was a dangerous place for anyone. On a hot afternoon, members of the Brighton police force are ready for an assault on one of the residences. "Information was received from an impeccable source. A violent criminal, wanted for two shootings and suspicion of involvement in three others, was holed up in a house in Milldean before crossing to France tomorrow. He was known to be armed and dangerous....I approved an operation to enter the premises forcibly and arrest him." But nothing is as it is supposed to be and four people die. A riot ensues and the police are the enemy. It is July, 2009.
At a press conference, Chief Constable Robert Watts announces, prematurely, that he is backing his troops unquestioningly. It does not take long for Watts to be asked to resign since, technically, the police were operating under his direction even though he was not present. It also does not take long for Watts to realize he has been set up. Watts is determined to clear his name and he joins forces with Kate Simpson and James Tingley, a shadowy man from a shadowy organization.
The story changes time periods smoothly; the reader is never in doubt about which year they are in. The transitions flow so neither part of the story is allowed to be forgotten.
Saintsbury's comment about the negative side of mystery is a perfect summary of CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT. It doesn't end with the good guys riding off into the sunset and the bad guys riding on a rail. In fact, it doesn't end. Guttridge conceived this as the first part of a trilogy. Happily, the second book, THE LAST KING OF BRIGHTON, is due to be published in early June. This is a series that must be read in order. It is unlike most other series, with characters whose faults have serious consequences but who are trying to do the right thing. In the hands of another writer, the failure to resolve the mysteries might very likely persuade the reader that a follow-up to the story would be a waste of more reading time. But the reader realizes, as the threads come together and then split apart again and again, that the full story can't be confined to one book. The reader will sign on for the long haul more than willingly.
He hasn't ditched the jokes entirely, you suspect that wit is never far away and even the dedication is wry with a barbed undertow, but I was right to wait for it: City of Dreadful Night is absorbing, commanding, engrossing.
I'm not sure now that I realised it was the first of a trilogy. Now I've read it, that's excellent news: suddenly I'm back to waiting for the next Peter Guttridge novel.