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The Detective Branch: A Pyke Novel (A Pyke Mystery) Paperback – 11 Feb 2010


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The Detective Branch: A Pyke Novel (A Pyke Mystery) + Bloody Winter: A Pyke Mystery (Pyke Mysteries) + Kill-Devil And Water: A Pyke Mystery (Pyke Mysteries)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; Export ed edition (11 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029785528X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297855286
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 922,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Drips with all the atmospheric detail of a pre-Victorian murder mystery--'pea-soupers, ' dingy lanterns, and laudanum." --"The Times" on "The Revenge of Captain Paine"

Book Description

Pyke joins the newly formed Detective Bureau of the Metropolitan police in a tale of corruption and murder.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr Creepy on 21 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
A rollicking story set in London in the 1840s featuring Pyke, the head of the newly formed Detective Branch, who is tasked with investigating the murder of three people killed during a robbery at a pawnbroker's. The fact that Pyke recognises one of the victims, a man who has links with Pyke's own criminal past, is only the first hurdle on a case that threatens to destroy him. Pepper's novel is brimming with period detail, some of it familiar but much of it fresh, and depicts a time when the city was mushrooming with the influx of workers, many from Ireland. It's de rigueur for detectives to be flawed and act as mavericks and Pepper follows that template but skilfully makes Pyke a fully believable hero of his time. Facing corruption and double-dealing on all sides and loss and upheaval in his personal life, Pyke captures our sympathy. This is the fourth of Pepper's novels and the first was short-listed for the CWA New Blood Dagger.
Cath Staincliffe
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James Eves on 6 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the fourth Pyke novel and Andrew Pepper paints his atmospheric picture in full detail of Victorian London.He seems to know every alley and back street like the back of his hand as he takes us into the pea-soupers of 1844.He has you griped with a story of high intrigue and low politics,brutal murder with cunning conspiracies.Pyke is at his voilent and vengeful best as he tries to uncover the connection between a robbery that leaves three people dead and the brutal murder of a Rector of a wealthy parish.His suspicions lead him to a dissolute former Catholic priest,rummers of devil worship and a old case that no one wants him to investigate.This is Andrew Pepper at the top of his game,roll on the next Pyke outing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. I. Harrison on 6 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Followers of Pyke will be familiar with his mix of persistance, doggedness and outright pychosis when it comes to solving crime. Picture Cornwell's Richard Sharpe as a copper rather than a soldier and you will have some idea as to Pyke's style of crime fighting.

Except for the first half of this book he was dangerously close to calm and sensible. 'Detective Branch' finds Pyke leading a team of policemen in a hunt to solve a triple murder. So his normal maverick style is curbed. For a while at least.

However events which I will not go into for spoiling reasons soon lead Pyke on to his more familiar and volatile path. As a result the book gathers momentum and interest! I don't know how Pepper will approach further stories but for me Pyke is at his best when he is sitting outside the pack, unloved and self loathing with nothing to lose but his burning sense of injustice and outrage.

However having said that the interplay between the detectives under him and Pyke's relationship with them was an interesting side story. Pyke's home situation doesn't get any better either. His relationship with his son is strained, his relationships with his neighbours downright hostile and even his newly bought pigs are causing him problems!

But that's what I love about Pyke he is a glorious screw up who despite his many character flaws always comes through and gets the job done but God help anyone who stands in his way!

In summary a little slower and less visceral than we are used to, but still a worthwhile read with some truly loathsome villains.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Bailey on 15 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Together with James McGee's Matthew Hawkwood, Andrew Pepper's Pyke series represent the best crime novels of the era they cover.Whereas Hawkwood is an ex-soldier, Pyke comes from the moe seedy side of the Victorian underworld.The Pyke stories began in 1829 with the excellent Last Days of Newgate and has taken us through a turbulent time for Pyke and his wife (now tragically deceased) his son and his uncle Godfrey, and Pepper never fails to lead us through a vivid period atmosphere in the streets of London with fine action and suspense.Other reviews have set out brief outlines of the plot, and I would heartily recommend both Pepper and McGee's work for those who love their crime and mystery novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judith N on 14 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
"He had been looking for his mother among the prostitutes and brothels of the Ratcliff Highway when they had seized him......."
Never having read one of Andrew Pepper's books before, I didn't know what to expect, but the opening words of this excellent book had me gripped right from the start. It paints a vivid portrait of the seamier side of mid 19th century London; the descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells stay with you long after you've read the book - which I did in one sitting as I couldn't put it down!
The plot starts out quite simply as a whodunnit, gradually getting more intricate as the whytheydunnit comes into play. There are enough red herrings to satisfy without overly confusing the issue, and a finely crafted conspiracy. The characters are well-drawn and believable. By the final chapter everything falls neatly - and satisfyingly - into place, with a suitably open ending to allow for another Pyke novel.
The book is also very well written and proofed, although that's only to be expected from a lecturer in English!
I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes mysteries, police procedurals, historical novels, conspiracies, good use of language, correct grammar and books of a decent length (372pp). I'm now going to read all of Pepper's earlier books - it's a joy to discover a new author!
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