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The Yard by Alex Grecian
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The Yard (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Alex Grecian

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6478114,910 (3.73)93
Member:thiscatsabroad
Title:The Yard
Authors:Alex Grecian
Info:Putnam Adult (2012), Edition: First Edition first Printing, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Yard by Alex Grecian (2012)

  1. 10
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (majkia)
    majkia: similar in that both books - although one in New York, one in London - follow the beginnings of modern forensics and modern policing.
  2. 00
    The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (InvisiblerMan)
  3. 00
    In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (4leschats)
    4leschats: Both of these works deal with the emerging science of forensics to solve difficult cases.
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Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Awful. Worse than awful. I've put it in my Absolute Duds collection - nuff said! ( )
  mlfhlibrarian | May 10, 2015 |
Alex Grecian's The Yard is a highly enjoyable and clever work of historical fiction/mystery which takes the reader to Victorian London and the aftermath of Jack the Ripper, the mistrust of the public, and the emergence of The Murder Squad. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Mar 19, 2015 |
In 1889 London is still reeling from the murders done by Jack the Ripper and the inability of the police to catch the killer. The confidence in the police is at such a low point that noone in the police expects respect from anyone in London. And this is the time when the novel opens - with a body found in a trunk. And when the body is identified as that of a police inspector, the investigation becomes a lot more important for everyone in the Murder Squad.

While Jack was making his way through the prostitutes of London, the separation of police inspectors into divisions did not exist. In the aftermath of the grizzly murders, this had been one of the changes - a team of 12 detectives, called the Murder Squad, had been appointed as the only detectives that should investigate homicides (and they had also been supposed to stop investigating other things but that had been very slow at happening and by the time we meet the squad, they are still buried under a lot of non-homicide cases).

12 detectives investigating murder in London could never be enough and the fact that one of them is just starting, one turns up dead and one had moved on from his job without notifying anyone does not help. And the newbie, Walter Day, end up investigating the murder of his colleague.

Grecian chose to write his novel by showing the reader the killers long before the inspectors had had a chance to even start suspecting them. In some cases this works nicely, in some cases it makes me want to scream at a detective for missing a small clue that will solve his case even if realistically noone would have picked up on it unless if they are called Hercule Poirot or if they are the killer. In this case the style suits the novel and works better than I expected it to work when I realized that this is the case.

Of course the dead inspector is not the only murder at that time; nor Day is investigating only one murder. By the end there will be another dead policeman, a few non-related deaths (and the whole subplot with Esme and Liza was so pointless in that book that it seemed as if it is there for only two reasons - to connect the story to Jack the Ripper and to provide some danger for the policemen; I wish Grecian had spent more time with the inspectors instead but...), an abducted child, a dead child and one of the better descriptions of Victorian London that I had read in a long time.

The focus of the novel is on the crimes but behind all it emerges London - the two faced city of the poor and the rich; the huge residences and the workhouses, the city becoming a character in the novel in the way that only the old cities can. And while the inspectors work the same way they always had, the medical examiner Dr. Kingsley is making huge strides in his craft - including introducing finger printing for example. I suspect that in the next books in the series we will see more and more forensics that we recognize from today - the time is right to introduce it and even if it was not one person that did all of it in the real world, in the world of The Yard, it most likely will be.

And if that is not enough, the author builds a gallery of characters, giving them enough backstory and motivation to make them believable - Day and his wife, the doctor and his daughter, the other inspectors, the constable Hammersmith and sergeant Kett. He does not manage to escape all the stereotypes and in some cases the dialogue and the descriptions feel almost as if he was checking off a checklist but by the end of the novel you care about the characters enough to forgive some of these cases.

Overall a great start of a series and I plan to read the rest of the books in it. ( )
  AnnieMod | Feb 22, 2015 |
Slow at first but about halfway through it picks up and gets good. Great book, interesting characters. ( )
  dom76 | Jan 7, 2015 |
Enjoyed this book. Victorian crime is so different to modern day, and this book introduces the way evidence is important in solving crimes. I did get a bit confused at the beginning but it cleverly all came together at the end. ( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Readers who enter The Yard’s world-on-the-edge-of-change will be counting days until the sequel, hoping to meet some of these great characters again.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alex Grecianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cavanaugh, MeighanBook designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, SaraJacket designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

- Rudyard Kipling, "A Smuggler's Song"
Dedication
For Charity,
who will inspect this dedication
for plot holes.
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London, 1889. Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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Suffering public contempt after the Metropolitan Police's failure to capture Jack the Ripper, Walter Day, a member of Victorian London's recently formed "Murder Squad," partners with Scotland Yard's first forensic pathologist to track down a killer who is targeting their colleagues.… (more)

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