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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 March 2014
This was the first novel I've read by R. N. Morris and I absolutely couldn't stop reading this story. Dark, somber, grim, yes, but I still became almost addicted to this fascinating world. To begin with, I had no idea I would be reading such a wonderfully crafted story; the prose was lyrical, many of the descriptions made me want to jot them down on a notepad, and the characters were all so vividly drawn they made me feel as if I knew them. Detective Inspector Silas Quinn of the Special Crimes Department fits perfectly into this darkly portrayed tale of how the Metropolitan Police Force was utilized by the Admiralty to keep track of possible German spies in England as war hovers on the horizon. The year of 1914 plays into the atmospheric scene so well because there is just enough modern technology (automobiles, telephones, and cinema houses) to make the action interesting and yet these advances are still relatively new so they are not taken for granted by anyone.

I can tell from this plot that there have been other stories in the series and it is obvious that Quinn has something of a reputation with his soubriquet being Quick-Fire Quinn of the Yard. He was such a moody, almost grim character and yet I liked him. Some explanations and references were made to his past, but I would imagine it is the kind of thing where you gather one nugget at a time from each succeeding book. This story deals quite remarkably with eyes. Metaphorically and realistically the eye is what plays the central role in this story. In conjunction with roles being played, the infant cinema industry is the pivotal force behind the deaths which happen in this story and those deaths are described in quite a bit of detail. Since I read all types of mystery novels I didn't find the descriptions overwhelming, but if you are sensitive to reading about mutilations some of these passages might be difficult to deal with. It all went along hand in hand with the authors ability to describe a scene so well that you felt you were right there living it right along with the other characters. Now I will have to check out other books in this series to find out what happened to Quinn to make him so familiar with asylums and the workings of a psychiatrist.

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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This is the third Silas Quinn mystery, following on from "Summon Up the Blood" and "The Mannequin House." Having enjoyed the two previous novels, I was very excited about reading this and I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

The year is 1914 and Quinn is back in charge of the Special Crimes Department, ably aided by Detective Sergeant Macadam and Sergeant Inchball. War is looming and they are given the task of keeping an eye out for German spies. When Inchball suggests they stake out a German barbershop that he feels is suspicious, Macadam is eager to utilise his new recording equipment. It is the early days of `kinema' and Quinn is invited to the premiere of a new film by Austrian director Konrad Waechter, starring the beautiful Mademoiselle Eloise. Quinn finds the film shocking and he is even more disturbed when a young woman is found horribly injured after the premiere - her eye gouged from its socket, in a manner similar to that which occurred in the film.

Before long, Quinn is involved in a series of deaths which are linked to the fledgling film industry. Those involved may appear to be famous, rich, beautiful and glamorous, but he is quickly disillusioned by what he discovers - debt, deceit and blackmail. As he begins to try to uncover what is at the heart of a disturbing series of crimes, we also learn more about Quinn as a man. The author has deftly woven a whole cast of interesting characters around Quinn, including people who live in the same boarding house and those he works with. Although Quinn is a great detective, he is nervous and unsure about women and you feel for him as he suffers unrequited adoration for the aloof Miss Latterly, secretary to Sir Edward Henry, and is unable to see when women are attracted to him. This is an atmospheric and enjoyable read and Quinn a character whose adventures I look forward to following.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 January 2014
Thank you for the review copy via netgalley.

April, 1914. Against his better judgement, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn is attending the premiere of the new motion picture by notorious Austrian film-maker Konrad Waechter. But the glamorous event is interrupted by the piercing screams of a young woman in the street outside. She has been viciously mutilated in a horrific attack which eerily echoes a macabre act of violence in Waechter’s film.

So the third book featuring Silas Quinn – and once again a dark atmospheric tale with an intriguing premise and a wonderfully beautiful writing style meant I read this pretty much in one sitting – well two if you want to be pedantic – and certainly its my favourite so far.

Along with Detective Sergeant Macadam and Sergeant Inchball, Silas is soon drawn into a shadowy world behind the burgeoning success of cinema – and finds out how easily appearances can be deceptive..

Some of this will not be for the faint hearted (especially if like me you have a thing about EYES) but its a haunting addictive read that takes you back to another era. Silas Quinn himself is an interesting character and I was pleased to see him “fleshed out” even more in this instalment, as we follow along with him and a great supporting cast. See what I did there?

All in all a great read and I would recommend it for lovers of Crime Fiction with a historical aspect and a taste for modern “noir”.

Happy Reading Folks!
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on 6 February 2014
Set just before the 1st World war, tension is high regarding German spies. Detective Inspector Silas Quinn and his two sergeants Macadam and Inchball are given the task of identifying these spies but with very little to go on. The previous two reviewers have covered the plot very well, so I'll suffice it to say it's all abut eyes!
The Austrian film director with his film The eyes of the beholder. The woman attacked near the premier of this film, who seems to have had an eye removed! The actress/prostitute who is murdered and an eye removed! The billiard ball sent to Lord Dunwich wth an eye painted on it! The playing card with an eye removed! The eyes of the women that Quinn coverts!
Quinn is sarcastic and very quick to use his revolver and is known as quick fire Quinn!
The only other book I have read by this author is one of his Porfiry Petrovich series. This is a different departure but good nontheless. I shall look forward to reading more of Silas Quinn. Read my full review on the Euro-crime website.
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on 10 March 2014
It's rare to find a writer able to deliver pace and plot along with compelling classy prose, but Morris manages this and much more. There are highly unusual (and rather shady) characters, a fascinating setting and richly rewarding language, which combine to make this a terrific and original read. Like savouring a three course dinner prepared by a master chef, this book is a delight from start to finish, and utterly satisfying. There is black humour in abundance, an expertly woven plot, and interesting detail on the evolution of entertainment from music halls to cinema in early 20th century London. This is the first book I have read by this author, so I'm excited to discover that there are more Silas Quinn mysteries in the series, which I am now looking forward to reading. I thoroughly recommend The Dark Palace to lovers of stylish crime fiction, and hope you enjoy every word as much as I did.
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on 4 January 2015
Very exciting couldn't put it down.
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on 22 January 2015
One may deduce that Detective Inspector Silas Quinn is a bit of a queer fellow. We have only a glimpse into Quinn's back story and indeed even less his physical description, perhaps because this is book #3 of a series. Nevertheless, I quite liked him as well as his Detective Sergeants Inchball and Macadam.

The mystery of `The Dark Palace' is buried within a great deal of morass that, in the end, bears little relevance to the story. For instance, I found way too much discussion and descriptions about cameras, film and projection paraphernalia which only took away from the atmosphere of the suspense.

The human eye is features prominently in this mystery and Author Morris is very overt in his descriptions of the more macabre aspects, of which there are many.

However, little mistakes can put off a reader, such as:

Page 47 - The author refers to Detective Sergeant Inchball as Quinn.

Considering the year is 1914, it is disappointing to find the author using terms that do not apply to that era:

Page 72 - a lady wearing a `pillbox hat' is mentioned - while `pillbox' hats have been around since the Roman Empire they were not called that in 1914.

Page 108 - The term "The Big Apple" is used - this term referring to New York City was not coined until the 1920's and certainly would not have been used in 1914.

There is much to like about the writing style of this book, but otherwise I found it a disappointment.
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