Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Arrowood by Mick Finlay

Arrowood is the debut novel from Mick Finlay. It's set in South London in 1895 and it features a consulting detective, but this is not Sherlock Holmes. The tagline for this story is "London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes everyone else goes to Arrowood." Arrowood is fat, balding, often drunk. He's a terrible brother an even worse employer and friend and he hates Sherlock Holmes with a burning passion. The police generally aren't interested in his help so he has to use unconventional or even illegal methods to find information but somehow he and his partner Barnett seem to get the job done. When a young French woman seeks their help in locating her missing brother Barnett and Arrowood soon find themselves embroiled in a mystery that includes a dangerous criminal gang, Irish American revolutionaries and corruption at the highest levels of power. The writing is furious and fast paced Finlay knows his way around Victorian London and like Arrowood he knows people; from the drunks at the bar to the kind hearted women like Arrowood's sister who nurse the sick and the destitute, to the servants quarters and flop houses this is a Victorian London that's richly peopled and beautifully drawn. If you a fan of Sarah Pinborough's Mayhem or if love the camaraderie of Frey and McGray in Oscar de Muriel's books then Arrowood is for you. If you are fan of Sherlock Holmes you will probably love it all the more. All the familiar Sherlockian tropes are there but they are subtle and carefully used and the whole story is also shaded with political ideas and a darker and grittier tone than Conan Doyle ever used. This is a fantastic start to what I hope will be a longer series.
Thanks very much to the team at LoveReading and to the publishers HQ (Harper Collins) for the chance to read and review this novel before release.
Arrowood will be out on 23rd March 2017 in hardcover

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