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Publisher's Summary

Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only 12 detectives - known as “The Murder Squad” - to investigate thousands of murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own... one of the 12....

When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad.... but why?

Filled with fascinating period detail, and real historical figures, this spectacular debut in a new series showcases the depravity of late Victorian London, the advent of criminology, and introduces a stunning new cast of characters sure to appeal to fans of The Sherlockian and The Alienist.

©2012 Alex Grecian (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Sires
  • Chesapeake, OH, United States
  • 09-09-12

Excellent Narration, Book Needed Some Work

Set in London in the late Victorian era after Scotland Yard had signally failed to capture Jack the Ripper, this story of a warped killer, a body found in a chimney and a detective's body found in a trunk at a railway station is both interesting and frustrating.

First I had no problem with the narration. Toby Leonard Moore did an excellent job separating out the various character's voices. He did women's voices quite well in my opinion.

The one who fell down a bit was the author. There's a pretty long discussion on the Amazon product page which addresses some of the problems. It's spoilerish, beware.

I thought some of the characters were well written. It was the plotting and the lack of historical research that would cause me annoyance. The plotting lacked focus. The end of the mystery was not as satisfying as I hoped it would be. It wasn't unsatisfying in a literary/artistic manner. I was just left scratching my head and wondering about why certain things had been included when they eventually didn't even arise to the level of a red herring. They were just fillers.

Aside from factual forensic anachronisms the author has the wife of a Scotland Yard inspector suggesting that a man call her Clare within minutes of having him show up unannounced and alone at her front door. This happens again with another (male) character asking a female character he has just met to call him Mike within minutes of meeting. That just won't wash. It's also more distracting than whether or not the correct substance was used to raise latent finger prints. Oh, and the hospital scene with the patient who had his throat slashed? That was not only just gross, it was also medically impossible.

I would give this author another chance but I think he needs to work on plotting and research.

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Debra
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 07-13-12

Enjoyable annoying book

First off, why over 100 chapters, plus several "interludes". Author with ADHD?

I give this book overall 4/5 stars for the multitude of interesting characters, multiple intertwining storylines and good pacing. I had to take 1 off for annoying anachronisms and some heavy-handedness in the writing.

The time is 1888 Victorian London, when the Scotland Yard detectives are facing bad PR after not solving the Ripper case and their small team is tasked with 10,000 disappearances a year in the city. A fellow detective is murdered, and they want to provide "closure" for his family. Closure? Did they really say that in 1888? Did they use the term "forensic technology"?? And so on. And most people familiar with Victorian London have heard of Henry Mayhew, so why confuse readers with a half-witted character of the same name (but not the same social researcher and writer)? The real Mayhew died in 1887. Strange choices.

The Hammersmith and Day detective characters are strong enough that we may see a sequel featuring them, but I hope they won't discover DNA or blood spatter analysis ahead of their time.

56 of 59 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 09-08-12

Know what you're getting into

I love victoriana-pulp recreations and enjoy large doses of even mediocre formula stuff. This was just too grisly, anachronistic and plodding, with weak dialogue and windy speeches-- made worse by the breathy narrator - Is he even British? Was he holding his nose as he read this one?

It's ann perry paced, without her charm. I put up with grisly in crime novels if other elements make the listen worthwhile and IF the gristle is necessary for the story - here it seemed part of the formula, thrown in like seasoning according to a recipe.

This screams first novel - which usually doesn't put me off a series if there is promise in plot, character atmosphere or good dialogue, but I won't rush to download the next in this series. Interesting (I didn't say well-developed) characters and Victorian verisimilitude (second hand from other novels?) are the only strengths here. I endured to the end only for tidbits about evolution of the Yard and cameos of historical figures. For me this scored very low on the ratio of listening pleasure/hours yardstick.

58 of 65 people found this review helpful

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Coincidences galore

It's always a bad sign when a story requires amazing coincidences to work out - and this one piles them on top of each other until my eyes hurt from rolling so often. Too bad, because the premise and characters were pretty good. Hopefully the author will get better with more experience - I may check out the next one in the series before I give up entirely.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Listen at 1.25x speed and this is a winner

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, the author did a great job of handling several narratives at once and pacing them well.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

At first, the narration made me crazy. The narrator pauses a little too long between paragraphs and it was enough to be noticeable and irritating. But listening at 1.25x speed solves the problem completely.

Any additional comments?

Great listen. I will be downloading more from this author.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Iowa City, IA, United States
  • 12-31-14

Wanted to like

I should have taken seriously a couple of reader comments but liking the era so much I thought surely it would work for me. It just did not. Some may be the narration which I found stolid and flat. Perhaps it was the pacing of the writing and story. What ever it was it just did not hold my interest. Also the time spent with the murder and his particular interests was just too grim for me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Loved it! Set in the time of Sherlock Holmes.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Yard to be better than the print version?

No idea.

What other book might you compare The Yard to and why?

The Alienist, the Anatomy of Murder, White City

Have you listened to any of Toby Leonard Moore???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but also a book to savor at leisure since a book like this does not come around very often.

Any additional comments?

More Victorian Era mysteries that are not romantic fantasies and are not formula based. More like this! I get annoyed with the female hero that seems to be always ahead of her time and always outsmarts the stupid men. Too formula and predictable and too numerous. I want a plausible but exciting and intellectually stimulating book like this. Very interesting and transported the reader to my favorite time period. Great story.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Too anachronistic to really enjoy

The beginning of this story was quite promising, with an excellent narrator making up for what seemed at first like minor glitches, such as well-bred Victorians addressing servants and one another by their first names, and describing a London home as a "brownstone" of "golden bricks". That last leads me to suspect that the author has never been to London, and certainly never seen a brownstone. But I eventually found myself listening more for the next faux-pas than the next plot development, a decidedly bad sign. I so wanted to like this book, being in the mood for a new historical mystery series, but alas, it won't be this one. In addition to anachronisms, the plot became increasingly diffuse just when one least expected (or wanted) it to. I considered trying the second book of the series to see whether it might improve, but only if I can borrow it from the library, as I have better things on which to spend money or credits.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Violent and dry

Just too many disturbing elements in this book to be enjoyable. I enjoy mysteries and detective stories, particularly those set in Victorian times. I am well aware of the dark side of that period of time in London. Still, the violence described here made me not want to finish the book. As I debated whether to go on, I realized I didn't care about most of the characters, with the exception of Highsmith. The author doesn't go into much detail about the personal aspects of the main characters; what they looked like, or anything that made me want to get to know them better. I can't think of a better word to describe the story but dry. Violent and dry. I am on chapter 32, so must be close to the end, but just do not want to go any further. That never happens!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellant

What did you love best about The Yard?

The story held your attention.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I enjoyed all 3 of the main characters Day, Hammersmith and the Doctor

What about Toby Leonard Moore’s performance did you like?

A very good reader that brings the story mood and interest.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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