An Empty Death, By Laura Wilson
Sunday 06 June 2010
London, 1944. Doodlebugs rain from the sky. Yet something resembling normal life goes on; hospitals have to be run, and crimes have to be solved. DI Ted Stratton is called to investigate the death of a doctor, and it soon turns into a murder enquiry. Then a nurse at the same hospital is found strangled. Then a pathologist is killed.
This is a superb crime thriller. The plot is a pleasing combination of the just-guessable and the unpredictable, and Stratton is the perfect detective: strong, taciturn but deep-feeling, commanding both respect and sympathy. The character of Sam Todd, a Ripley-esque identity thief who becomes Dr James Dacre, is brilliantly drawn. So, too, the bombed-out Mrs Ingram who suffers from Capgras syndrome, the delusion that her spouse has been replaced by an evil impostor. And Wilson evokes the wartime atmosphere vividly: the chronic shortages, the constant weariness, the endless consolatory cups of tea and the huddling in pubs amid the ruined cityscape. One feels that if Patrick Hamilton had written a detective novel, it would have been something like this – and indeed Wilson nods to Hamilton in a reference to his play Gaslight.
Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 2015 General Election: Green party will not appear in TV debate alongside Ukip – says BBC
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'