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It's all about the eyes.
on 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.