August 1940. As German fighter planes attack London and the South East, a man is discovered with his throat slashed open in a suite at the Ritz Hotel.
Detective Chief Inspector Coburg is called in to investigate, in the face of mounting pressure from Intelligence agencies, rival political factions and trigger-happy gang leaders.
SUMMARY – The 10-second review
British historical crime – Interesting mix of genres – Well written – Very readable – Like watching a TV crime show
Murder at the Ritz is a well-written, well-paced police procedural set in London in 1940, to the backdrop of blackouts and bombings. It’s a surprisingly successful combination of genres.
Eldridge is an experienced writer of TV scripts, and it shows. The novel keeps up a good steady pace, with vivid setting and scenes, relatable characters, an intriguing plot and snappy dialogue.
I think this would be an excellent choice of book for anyone looking for an entertaining, readable book that will hold your interest. It’s a Netflix and chill experience, in book form. (Ebook or paper: take your pick!) I can think of worse ways to spend your time.
Detective Chief Inspector Coburg is a policeman with an upper-class background, which helps open doors when investigating crime in the upper echelons. But he’s portrayed as equable and well liked by ‘ordinary folk’ too. You can’t help thinking of Nathaniel Parker in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (A BBC TV series from 2001-2008). Like Lynley, Coburg has a working-class sidekick, Sergeant Lampson.
It’s a good formula, and Eldridge adds a few ingredients from other well-known and popular genres — together they add up to quite a unique style. On top of the police procedural, there’s the character of the Albanian exiled King Zog and rumors of large quantities of gold bullion, reminiscent of Golden Age crime novel subplots. The 1940s London blitz setting brings a note of historical fiction (with its typical plucky lass volunteering to ‘do her bit for the war effort’ by driving an ambulance), while the brewing gang warfare supplies a zest of classic ’40s noir.
So yes, maybe it’s a bit of a dog’s dinner in terms of genre. But I imagine the vast majority of readers couldn’t care less about the genre blending and will just enjoy it as a good read and a welcome distraction.
My thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for giving me a free copy of this book. All my reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, regardless of how I acquire the book.
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