A selection of new books about the capital. All can be found in or ordered from your local independent book shop.
Mat Baylis’s second Haringey-set crime novel sees troubled local news reporter Rex Tracey present at the sudden death of an entire family of Hasidic Jews having a picnic in Finsbury Park.
Shortly after, photographer friend Terry is charged with the murder of his next door neighbour, the eccentric and grumpy Dr Kovacs, who has written a new book about the 100 year old robbery and double murder known as The Tottenham Outrage.
Determined to get Terry off the hook and unable to resist a mystery, Rex goes sleuthing, delving into Hasidic life and culture in Stamford Hill, visiting a Travelodge off the North Circular, attending an extraordinary gathering in 'cloud namer' Luke Howard's crumbling house, looking for terrorists on Wood Green High Road and popping into North Middlesex Hospital, Wood Green Crown Court and Tottenham nick along the way.
This intriguing and tightly plotted novel nips along as Baylis retells an infamous old story and gives it a new twist through a fascinating cast of characters. But as with his debut, A Death at the Palace, Londoners will take pleasure from the supporting cast and setting — the people and places of Haringey.
It’s 1814 and Covent Garden is a vice pit, Wapping is a working port and Hackney is in the countryside. Lloyd Shepherd’s third outing for Constable Horton sees him called to investigate strange goings on at a Surrey estate where the locals are convinced witchcraft is at work. Meanwhile in London, debauched young aristocratic men are being gruesomely murdered in their London homes, and left wearing a satyr’s mask. Horton’s investigative powers soon link the two cases.
Locked away from him, Horton’s wife Abigail has sought relief from mental distress in a Hackney asylum and finds herself lodged next door to a seriously disturbed young woman, Maria Cranfield. Abigail makes a connection with Maria that mad-doctor Bryson cannot. But not even she can understand the power Maria seems to have over other people. What terrible ordeal has damaged Maria and who is she talking to in the dead of night?
Savage Magic is a dark, atmospheric, rich web of murder, madness and malign forces acted out against the backdrop of bustling 19th century London life. (NB: we read this as our first encounter with Lloyd Shepherd, and will now be going back to The English Monster and Poisoned Island.)
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