Paperback review: A Death at the Palace, By MH Baylis


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The Independent Culture

Journalist Rex Tracey is in a funk. He pines for Milda, his Lithuanian ex-girlfriend, while younger, more ambitious colleagues are after his reporting job at a north London newspaper.

To make matters worse, a far-right political group is spreading hate around his beloved Tottenham – and when Milda goes missing, Rex fears their handiwork.

A Death at the Palace is a richly enjoyable novel, working as both a satisfyingly plotted crime thriller, and a love letter to an often-overlooked corner of London. With its African restaurants and Turkish teahouses, Haringey retains the air of "some vital, exotic port", even if it is increasingly attracting the wrong sort of people. Baylis imagines the area menaced by killers and thugs, but in the book's darkest moments he envisions a far more depressing fate – gentrification.