3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The best of Johnston's "Enightenment Edinburgh" series!,
By A Customer
This review is from: The House of Dust (Hardcover)This is the fifth and, I believe, the best, of Paul Johnston's crime novel series set in a future Edinburgh founded on the political principles set forth of Plato's "Republic". (Following the argument advanced in Karl Popper's "The Open Society and Its Enemies", Johnston sees the realization of the "Republic" not as the wonderous utopia dreamed of by countless philosophers and classicists throughout the ages, but rather as a repressive and ultimately fascist state governed by ruthless and uncompromising leaders.) Johnston's vision of futuristic Edinburgh is bleak and depressing, his well drawn characters toughened by the dismal life in the "ideal state".
Like Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer, Johnston's "detective", one "Quint" Dalrymple, is an idealist made cynical by a corrupt and sinister reality, a sturdy individual with a healthy contempt for incompetent authority, but, in the final analysis, a man who lives according to his own unspoken principles.
"The House of Dust" is an excellent work of fiction. It portrays Dalrymple's quest for the truth (in a rather gruesome multiple-murder investigation), which takes him as far as the enterprising , business oriented "New Oxford" and all its ghoulish secrets. (Johnston's depiction of "New Oxford" is both extremely entertaining and profoundly disturbing: here Johnston once again embarks on an adventure into the realm of scathing social satire.) As for the plot of the novel, Johnston once again demonstrates his considerable skills as a story teller of the highest order.