This was a book I picked up as part of a three for two offer, there were two books I really wanted but nothing else was really jumping out so randomly I picked this as from the cover I expected something a little along the Poirot/Miss Marple line of detection. I was wrong.
It is to be honest pretty much a police procedural albeit set in the throws of the First World War. It balances the portrayal of professional and personal lives nicely but for the first half of the book it went along at a fairly pedestrian pace.
The second half the pace picks up and the story line becomes a little more interesting but what really hit me was the parallels between London after the sinking of the Lusitania and London as it faces modern terror threats. I have no idea if the author intended for these themes of scapegoats, fear, mob mentality and prejudice to mirror the modern world or if it just an interpretation I have put upon it. History is filled with people who have been attacked because what others do in their name or for their ‘God’ and this book looks into this, in London in 1915 it is Germans regardless of their religion, naturalisation or beliefs who bare the brunt of the mobs fury. While I cannot say I have researched to know how factually accurate the book is it feels real, the responses from people feel real, the fear and panic and anger feel real, and reflect so much of the negativity in today’s society. On a daily basis I over hear people who refer to other as ‘them’ or ‘they’ when discussing people from different backgrounds, usually linked with the idea they should be removed from ‘our’ country regardless of what their heritage, place of birth or profession is. It is something that is very prevalent at the minute as a small number of brainwashed students have travelled to commit murder in foreign lands in the name of a religion which actually abhors their actions but now calls for greater action come and demands which will not touch those who have committed these atrocities but cause suspicion against others who want only to live their lives in peace.
I don’t want to go to deeply into it because I do recommend that people read this book for themselves and see what they take from it, and this is a book review not a political analysis. If I had given it a mark half way through it would have been 2 out of 5 but because of the end and what I see as social commentary I give it a 4.5 out of 5.