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on 21 August 2011
This is 2nd in the McLevy series of books and the first I have read. Unusually this is a book and a series of books based on the Radio Series, rather than the other way around. I have listened to some of the radio programmes on Radio 4 and was not captivated by them. It was by accident therefore that I bought this book and what a delight it was to read. I must have missed something on the radio, this is a very entertaining read. The tale of death and murder on an expanding scale, from the back street brothels of Edinburgh to Tay Bridge disaster. A cast of memorable characters where real events and people intermingle with the fictional.(including that pre-eminent Scots bard McGonagle.) A great story but best of all written with wit and humour. Must relisten to some of those radio programmes when they come around again on Radio 4Extra.
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on 16 June 2014
I thought this was a good follow-up to 'Shadow of the Serpent.' Once again it brings Victorian Edinburgh to life through the rather unconventional eyes of Inspector James McLevy. The characters of his police colleagues are varied and well drawn, and in many ways not much different from their present-day counterparts. I liked the addition of factual information about the building of the Tay Bridge and the later disaster, but having travelled over it for the first time recently I'm very glad that I hadn't read the book first!
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on 22 January 2014
David Ashton writes with the lightest touch. Nothing is belaboured, no overlong descriptions, just the facts as befits an Edinburgh police inspector of the 1800's. I enjoyed this book even more than the first, but that is as it should be if the Author is developing his writing skills, and his characters. I honestly can't think of anything I disliked about this, or the first book. Mr Aston puts me in mind of Charles Dickens, insightful, slyly funny, not scared to make his hero less than perfect and his women strong. Excellent!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 February 2009
There have been a number of enjoyable short plays on BBC Radio 4 written by David Ashton featuring the idiosyncratic detective McLevy, constable Mulholland and the bawdy-house madam, Jean Brash. All three feature in this detective novel along with a number of other memorable characters. It takes a little time to get into this particular story, but once it's going it keeps you gripped, not least, by the lively and very humorous writing counter-balanced by the atmospheric descriptions of the darker side of Edinburgh in the Victorian era. The story intertwines with the real-life events surrounding the building and ultimate fate of the first railway bridge over the river Tay.
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on 8 October 2017
This is the best read I have had in many a long time. I am having an argument with maself aboot whae is ma favourite and Roach with his obsession with gowf is runnin a guide race
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on 20 January 2013
This is a cracking police-procedural thriller set in Victorian Edinburgh. The characters are nicely drawn, and psychologically convincing. The main character, McLevy, is compellingly charismatic. The main joy of the novel is the dialogue, which is authentically Nineteenth Century, witty, and inventive. I first came across McLevy via the dramatizations on Radio 4. This novel is just as gripping and atmospheric. If you like Victorian fiction, and crime thrillers, give it a go!
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on 29 July 2015
Once used to the Edinburgh dialect and the philosophical musings of the detective it's a great read, particularly with the real life characters that come into the story.
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on 12 April 2015
I am a listener to Radio 4 Extra and have heard all the McLevy plays/books that have been broadcast. It was a delight to be able to buy a copy and read it at leisure. It has a common line running through all the stories that are based upon Victorian Edinburgh and a regular clientele of characters with new people in each story to be victims and participators. Delightful to read.
David Flood 12th April 2014.
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on 28 June 2014
A typical Inspector McLevy story full of interesting details of Scotland in the nineteenth century,a very good read keeps you on your toes to the last page.
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on 11 March 2012
I enjoyed this - the writing is good and the historical background very interesting. I found the characters to be well drawn and the plot was pretty good too - in fact all the ingredients for a very good period thriller.
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