May 1915. With thousands of Britons fighting in the trenches, a severely depleted police force remains behind to keep the Home Front safe. Scotland Yard is already overstretched when the sinking of the Lusitania sparks an unprecedented wave of anti-German riots and arson attacks.
Among the victims is the immigrant tailor Jacob Stein, found dead in his burnt-out shop. Initially Jacob’s killing appears to be the tragic excess of wartime hysteria – but when it transpires that Jacob had been stabbed, his safe ransacked, and his daughter Ruth raped, the possibility that these assaults were long-premeditated crimes becomes unavoidable.
Detective Inspector Harvey Marmion and Sergeant Joe Keedy must take on this case of cover-ups and contradictions and track down Jacob’s killer and Ruth’s assailants.
I have loved and read almost all of Edward Marston's books and series, but I must say this new series is off to a very bad start.
It moves along briskly enough but I found it hard to like the new detectives, Inspector Marmion and Sgt. Keedy. I am not sure why but I simply didn't like them and couldn't get interested in them.
The book has many subplots which ultimately coalesce into one plot -- who killed Jacob Stein and burned his tailoring shop. Yet the characters in the subplots were weak and unsympathetic. One thing I did not like was the emphasis and time spent on the home and personal life Inspector Marmion. I know the author is setting up a romantic involvement with Sgt. Keedy and Marmion's daughter Alice, but I still found that part of the book boring and more of a distraction.
The main story dealing with the murder of the tailor was interesting but I felt the reader got distracted from it with so much time wasted on subplots and family life of minor characters.
The beginning, with the sinking of the Lusitania was exciting, but the story of Irene and Dot which looked interesting rather ended with one sentence about a woman turning in the address of Ernie to a police station. We never even learn which of the sisters turned him. Yet this subplot took up quite a bit of time.
It is a quick read but not up to the caliber of the Railway Detective series or Doomsday Book series. Alas the latter is not available on Audible.
The only thing that saves this book is the outstanding narration of Gordon Griffin. He is one of the best narrator out there and he adds to much to a book and often overcomes the limitations of the author.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about A Bespoke Murder?
First I'll say that I haven't finished this yet & am trying to work up the interest to do so. I don't like not finishing a book.
I find it hard to believe how much the police tell possible suspects about crimes, all the details they give away. Why aren't they more careful? I also haven't warmed to the characters. Inspector Marmion guarantees he'll solve the murder & bring everyone to justice. Not realistic. I'm also disappointed by author's depiction of Jews. Jacob Stein's family seem cruel to his daughter. Is the author prejudiced against religions & portraying them incorrectly?
Has A Bespoke Murder turned you off from other books in this genre?
No, of course not. But I much prefer Charles Todd's Inspector Rutledge, who gives nothing away. Those mysteries happen just after WWI.
Did Gordon Griffin do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?
Sometimes. But I'm not sure who's speaking about half the time, especially between the inspector & his sergeant.
What character would you cut from A Bespoke Murder?
The people from the Lusitania. That subplot isn't interesting & seems so far to have nothing to do with main plot.
Any additional comments?
Why would the British refer to "soccer"? They've always called it "football." Was that just for Americans who aren't too bright? Tiny thing, I know, but it bugged me. A few other things seemed off to me; some things seem more 21st century than early 20th. I don't like giving a bad review, but I won't read any more Marston.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
I have enjoyed every minute of this recording; the story was interesting, the characters engaging and the narration very well performed. Can't wait to hear the sequel.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A new author for me but a period of time I like reading about in my crime/mystery books.
Found this one a bit slow and I got distracted a little bit which meant I had to rewind every so often. Plot was reasonable and not far fetched as were the main characters but it just didn't have the bite I look for. It doesn't need to be gory or scary but it must hold my attention and leave me wanting more this book did nether. Although it hasn't put me off getting the next book in the series.
The narration was spot on and both the male and female voices were believable.
Where does A Bespoke Murder rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
A good story, interesting but not gripping.
What did you like best about this story?
The characters are believable and engaging. The story unfolded steadily but with some twists and turns.
The portrayal of the young woman who was raped is sensitive and empathetic.
Any additional comments?
Generally the historical context is convincing, but a few times the characters say things which seem anachronistic (I am being rather fussy here - I do read quite a bit of fiction written in the early twentieth century so I noticed some things which jarred with me.)
Also, I was surprised at so many people having cars - surely that was a real rarity in 1916?
That fussiness apart, it was a good story well told.