Monday, 17 August 2015

This Thing of Darkness - Harry Bingham

Series Title: Fiona Griffiths book 4

Published: 2nd July 2015, Orion

Source: ebook, owned

The Set Up:

After the events at the end of casefile Tinker, Fiona finds herself studying for her Sargent's exams - or rather the books are knocking about in the back of her car and she knows the exam is booked... In an effort to groom her into a proper copper and curb her tendency to go off piste, Jackson has her working in the 'dungeon' helping the exhibits officer sort several thousand items of mishandled, mislabelled evidence and Fiona is going insane - possibly literally. Her out is a number of cold case files - long without solution. Jackson doesn't believe even Fiona  can rootle out a corpse from those but what she finds is so much vaster than anyone could have imagined...


I would have to agree with other reviewers who stated that this episode in the tangled life of Fiona Griffiths is very slightly less gripping that the previous book. It has an empire strikes back feel - beautifully laid out with the plot describing a wide sweep of the overall arc and really moving the characters along, and yet there isn't quite the release on ending that we got in 'Strange Death'.

That said this is still a great read and brilliant book. Fiona Griffiths is vieing with Merrily Watkins for the top spot on my list of favourite crime MCs - no mean feat that as any big fan of Phil Rickman will tell you. I don't want to spoil a moment of the plot but I will say that in this book we see Fiona come as close as she ever has to losing herself again to Cotard's syndrome due to events in the book, at the same time we also see her more self aware, more pulled together and healthy than we have before. Her ability to make unorthodox friendships is as usual charming. Her sharp brain scything through puzzles with just the fraction of a clue is as satisfying as ever and her somewhat reckless yet calculated risk taking is just as exhilarating. 

Fans of Fiona will find themselves cheering her success and lamenting the end of the book even as they gear up in expectation for the next volume - we all hope it will be soon.

Bingham writes stand out crime in a crowded market that doesn't shy away from gore and violence but does not rely on it to provide intrigue, pace and tension. As far as memorable crime genre characters goes Fiona Griffiths can confidently take her place next to such giants as Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes, Merrily Watkins, Hercule Poirot, Lacey Flint and others. A gripping and satisfying read.

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