There were a number of authors that were due another chance that I didn’t get round to last month, and one of them, obviously, was Alanna Knight. Of the two Inspector Faro books, set in Victorian Edinburgh, that I’ve read so far, they were enjoyable little tales – the first one, Enter Second Murderer, I liked quite a lot, but the second one, Blood Line, was a bit more obvious and had a very unsatisfying denouement. So, what about the third one?
Inspector Faro and his stepson, Vince, attend a dinner party held by the police surgeon Dr Kellar, whose wife Vince is somewhat infatuated with. The dinner party is a disaster and, two weeks later, Kellar’s wife is reported missing, vanished from a train. Her bloody coat and a carving knife are soon found by the railway track, but no body is found. But of course, Dr Kellar is always cutting up corpses – he’d have no trouble disposing of a body…
I was quiet on the plot points of the first book as it gave away the murderer and I’m going to be even quieter here. I think even whispering of the developments herein would guarantee confirming the suspicions of the savvy armchair sleuth before they even get a quarter of the way through the book. Unfortunately I spotted what was going on – apart from a fairly ridiculous bit, reminiscent of one of Dame Agatha’s more unbelievable moments – and that never really helps me enjoy a mystery. As I read it, my first suspicion simply became more and more confirmed until the final beat.
As for the book itself, as with the others, it’s a cheerful little thing that doesn’t outstay its welcome. I was a little surprised that nothing had changed since the denouement of the second book, but fair enough, I suppose.
So, as I can’t say much for fear of spoilers, this is a reasonable enough read – certainly there are worse things to spend 90p on – but don’t go in expecting the most complicated mystery you’ve ever read. I get the impression Knight was trying for an completely unexpected twist, but when you don’t supply [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER] then it would have been more of a surprise if it had been a different solution. Similarly, there are too many issues to believe that [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER] was an actual possibility.
Having said that, I’ll give the next in the series a go at some point. I much prefer an author with the ambition to try something like this, even if they don’t succeed, than someone who doesn’t even try.