The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch. On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.
Published by Urbane Publications
About the Author
Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer best known for his series of ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels which have been featured on BBC Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television.
Originally a corporate lawyer, he currently teaches at Cass Business School and acts as a board advisor to high growth companies.
This is the second book in the series of the Hampstead Murders and I have to admit to having not read the first – Death in Profile – but will definitely be getting hold of a copy after being captivated by the characters and setting in this classy crime novel!
We begin with a body found in a study with a truncheon used as a murder weapon – sounds like a game of Cluedo! – at a local museum and with so few witnesses or visitors it seems that the investigation may be a fairly simple one for those officers involved. But when they later discover a body in a suitcase, of someone murdered many years ago, surely they can’t be linked? But with good old fashioned police work it soon transpires that there is more to these deaths than meets the eye, and it is fascinating to watch the various lines of enquiry and research that the officers put in to uncover the truth.
This is a book full of strong characters and I found myself completely stumped at times trying to work out just who was involved and who was hiding more than they should be! It did make a nice change not to be confronted with scenes of gore or torture that has been quite high in many crime books recently, so just to focus on the classic ‘whodunnit’ was an extremely enjoyable experience and I now look forward to catching up with book one before book three, A Whiff of Cyanide, is released in the Summer of 2017