Top critical review
Napoleon III lived in Chiselhurst
on 12 May 2016
There’s a disgraced Metropolitan detective, turned private-detective, who is also the world-weary narrator. He – George Webb -- tells of a shocking murder. There is adultery, possibly twice-over, and a few more, still, of the ingredients of a familiar genre, more American in its origins but with British practitioners, as well. However, “The Light of the Day”, which follows Graham Swift’s Booker-prize “Last Orders”, is quite unlike the usual representatives of the genre. Even the degree of uncertainty and even confusion to be found in, for example, writers from Dashiell Hammett to James Ellroy is quite different; as is the setting: Wimbledon and Chiselhurst. This is an interesting refreshing of the genre. Having said that, George’s family tale sits awkwardly with the plot, such as it is, and his love-affair with a client is curious without being gripping, and becomes sentimental when it ought, finally, to be pulling threads together, even if partially.