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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hardcastle's Actress (Hardcastle Mysteries) by Graham Ison | LibraryThing

Enjoyable audiobook.  Hardcastle, a gruff, often rude, DDI (Divisional Detective Inspector) is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate the murder of a young actress, Victoria Hart, the recently married wife of a Navy Commander. The investigation wanders from husband to theater director to others who might have resented the lovely actress.

WW I in full swing, Victoria Hart, the dead woman, known for her risque outfits and dancing, had tried to help recruitment by offering a kiss to any man willing to sign recruitment papers (otherwise known as a death warrant.) When two recruiting sergeants are also murdered the investigation takes a different shift, focusing instead on looking for someone who might have resented having a loved one recruited leading to his death in France.  The end result is something different, indeed.

Hardcastle is temperamental and often obnoxious sometimes getting results as much through bullying as intelligence with only occasional -- and surprising -- acts of kindness toward his inferiors in rank.

The author, Graham Ison was apparently a Scotland Yard detective for many years.  He has an entire series built around the effects of WW I on the general population and the police.  He’s written close to forty novels.  They contain authentic details of police procedure in the early twentieth century as well has a host of obsolete slang, e.g. “who would know these days the meaning of a ‘fourpenny cannon’?  But in Hardcastle’s day, it was a steak and kidney pie.  And a ‘Piccadilly window’ was a term describing a monocle. “  (From the author’s web page.)

I’ll have my work cut out to read (listen to) all of the Hardcastle series.

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