Firing Line (The Blitz Detective) Kindle Edition
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In the midst of yet another air raid on London in 1940, a light is seen in a window. They need to tell the householder to turn it off or shut their blackout curtains. No one answers the door. A fireman breaks in and he and the air raid warden with him discover a body of a young woman.
Detective Inspector John Jago and Detective Constable Peter Cradock are called to the scene. It looks like she was strangled with a nylon stocking. At this juncture in time, they are only available in the US. In the woman’s purse, they find an identity card in the name of Joan Lewis. They also find a sailor’s cap under the bed.
The autopsy shows that the woman was indeed strangled with the stocking. DI Jago mentions to the pathologist Dr. Anderson that the killing reminds him of the Soho Strangler. He killed four women in 1935 to 1937 and was never caught. Then, Dr. Anderson agrees. The last thing that Dr. Anderson tells Jago and Cradock is that the woman was about twelve weeks pregnant.
They go to the address on the identity card, for it is not the one at which she was found, and meet Joan’s mother-in-law. She thought very little of Joan. There they learn that Joan was married and that her husband has been missing in Germany or France for six months. They meet her sister, who also works at the cinema where Joan worked. She identified the body for the mother-in-law refused to do it. While at the cinema, the manager told them that their safe was broken into. The thief or thieves took the whole weekend’s receipts.
They discovered a friend of Joan’s. When they go to talk to her, she gives them a suitcase that Joan has asked her to keep for her. Inside is some kind of green costume.
When they show it to the mother-in-law she claims it belongs to her. But she won’t say any more about it. They visit the sister-in-law who doesn’t know about the suitcase, but tells them of a sailor who was in the pub selling stockings. On their way to track him down, they stop at the cinema to question the man on duty the night they were robbed. DC Cradock has a theory.
They re-visit their witnesses; the people who knew Joan or were related to her in some way. Slowly, they begin to get a better picture of Joan and what was going on in her life. They discard the idea of the Soho Strangler.
Along the way to solving the murder, Jago and Cradock solve the robbery at the theater. The clue to solving it comes from an unexpected source. The father of the baby is an oh, oh moment. Solving Joan’s murder was a little more tricky. It was a rather surprising outcome.
This is a very well written and plotted novel. It takes the reader through a thorough police investigation, without all the bells and whistles that we have today. They only have their eyesight, intuition and finger prints to go on. So it’s necessary to question the witnesses very carefully. The tension in this story begins immediately and continues as the reader follows the painstaking police search for answers. I’ve read all of Mr. Hollow’s books, and I really like them. I like the back-and-forth between Jago and Cradock. Mr. Hollow has a talent for dialogue. Cradock is getting better at ferreting out sensible questions of his own. I am looking forward to reading the next Jago and Cradock novel in this series.
I want to thank NetGalley and Lion Hudson Ltd/Lion Fiction for forwarding to me a copy of this great book to read and enjoy.
Inspector John Jago and his partner Detective Peter Cradock arrive around 3 a.m. to start their day and their investigation. With tireless determination, they question person after person and walk to place after place to run down clues. The victim’s husband is currently listed as missing at the front, and the victim had recently moved out of her mother-in-law’s home and into a place by herself. They learn from most that the young woman was sweet and gentle. However, Jago wonders if that is really the case as she was keeping a big secret from everyone. Is she really the sweet woman some say, or is she secretly involved in something darker? Jago also learns of a burglary at the victim’s place of employment. Are the two crimes related?
This is one of my favorite series filled with excellent writing and characters that are becoming like family. Inspector Jago is beginning to open up more about his feelings for the American journalist, Dorothy. His young partner, Peter Cradock, is beginning to develop his own style of investigating, but Jago continues to mentor and guide him. Jago is definitely still the leader of the two. The detailed and vivid descriptions of West Ham and London as well as the surrounding areas during 1940 put me right in the story. It was as if I could see the devastation and feel the grief and sadness myself. I just read book four in the series and I’m dreading having to wait a whole year before book five is released in March 2019! If you are a mystery lover, then this is one series you will want to read and put on your “keeper” shelf!
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The London Blitz may be the background for this story but the murder mystery could have been staged anywhere and could have taken...Read more