Hard Winter. Cold War. Cool Murder

**** Murders and Suspects Galore                                             Review by Rox Burkey

Author Janet Roger weaves a delectable Who Done it in London around 1947 at the beginning of the cold war. The background of events and locational buildings vividly paint the war damage era. Author Roger created several memorable characters that are complex, intriguing, and mysterious. 

One of my favorites in the cast is Newman. He is an American detective or shamus engaged during the war in London and now taking on private investigations. Councilman Drake works for the government. He called Drake Christmas morning to check on a situation. In acting toward the request, Newman finds a dead body in a nearby church. Finding the murderer is an intense quandary filled with suspects. The trust is as elusive as who will prosper when the secrets are revealed. 

 I really liked her early setup of Newman’s style in the snippet below.

“I put a shoulder against the door. “The call you ran to the square to make. Did you see anybody else out walking? Think about it, Miss Greer. When City Police arrive, they’ll want to know.”

 For two seconds her eyes drew the light out of the room, then saw the whole idea was ridiculous and gave it all back.

 “Before five o’clock on Christmas morning, in this weather? Did you see anyone? Look, I’ve already told you everything I can think of. I want you to go.”

“You didn’t tell me you lit a candle at the crib.” Her knuckles whitened on the latch. She gave a small gasp of disbelief, put her head back against the wall and looked along the rose pattern on the wallpaper. “Because I didn’t imagine it could possibly interest you. As a matter of fact, just lately I light two. If a real police detective should ask me, I’ll be sure to tell him.”

Choices for the guilty party are numerous, and the bodies are piling up. Still, you will keep guessing all the way to the end. This is an excellent chance for you to test your skills of deduction and clue following. This is my first chance to get to know this author, but her style is good. I hope to see more from Janet Roger. Until then, enjoy this powerful mystery. It will make you think and then think again. 

About the Author

In the words of Author Janet Roger…

As a teenager I’d read all of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stories – not so long after they were written as I’d like to think – and they knocked my socks off. He wrote about Los Angeles and its neon-lit boulevards, its sour, gritty downtown and gun-toting cops (a novelty to this young European) and made them exotic. But what really got under my skin was Marlowe’s voice guiding me around the next street corner, and beyond it into a stale apartment block or a down and low bar. He invited me to look over his shoulder, let me see the highs and the lows, talked me through it and then put me in the seat beside him to drive me home. It was heady stuff, up to the point where the story began to seem incidental to the city, its moods and characters and speech patterns.

What really mattered was a time, a place and the people you might run into there. I’d discovered a new kind of mystery writing and got hooked. I wasn’t the only one. Pretty soon it just wasn’t possible to take the Chandler out of anyone’s idea of LA. By now you might have the same thought about Leon and Venice, Lehane and Boston, or Block and New York. And when that happens, you know they’re getting under your skin too.


    2 replies to "Shamus Dust"

    • Jan Sikes

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book, Rox! It sounds like a literary classic in the making!

      • RoxBurkey

        This is a very new author for me Jan.

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