What we thought: This novella is the first book in Croft’s Kempston Hardwick series and does a good job introducing us not only to the characters but also to the author’s unique style.
Kempston Hardwick is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, sly as a fox, sarcastic and succinct, and with observations skills needed in his role as amateur detective.
We meet Kempston in the Freemason’s Arms where a random meeting with his soon-to-be sidekick, Ellis Flint, turns very quickly into their first murder investigation. Charlie Sparks, a celebrity comedian on his way down the greasy ladder of fame is found dead in the Freemason’s before he can go on stage, and it’s down to Kempton and Flint to work out the who and why culminating in a Poirot-style dramatic reveal at the conclusion.
I liked the overall tone of the writing, although I was at times confused by the modern day setting morphing with the past. The pace cantered along, and kept the story moving at all times. There’s something very engaging about Kempston Hardwick as a character, particularly in his overblown English vocabulary, that would make him an interesting lead role in this crime series.
If you’d like a short, light crime drama in the style of a cross between Holmes and Midsomer Murders this is one for you – an entertaining and enjoyable read you can manage in one afternoon session! And if Kempston takes your fancy there’s a whole series follow-on for you to enjoy!
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Tom Bale, B.A Paris, Linda Hall.
Avoid if you don’t like: English wit and dodgy characters.
Ideal accompaniments: Port and blue cheese on crackers.
Genre: Crime Fiction.
Available from Amazon