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Hardcastle's Traitors by Graham Ison
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This an OK police procedural mystery set in WW1 England. The story is mildly interesting but the characterization is weak all around.

It's an easy but not an exciting read. All the bad guys get their "just desserts" in the end, although there is likely some sympathy for their cause (a Jewish homeland) but not their actions.

There's quite a bit of British slang which may or may not be accurate for the time, but it is not always easily translateable now.

Hardcastle's character is particularly bland and not well defined -- he's two dimensional. His son's 16th birthday scene at the end of the book comes out of nowhere because he shows little or no interest in his wife and children until then. Aside from that, I'd describe him as a pompous "prig" (which I think is a British term) - he's full of himself with no good reason. It's difficult to accept that he achieved the elevated rank that he holds (maybe he's an early example of the Peter Principle at work). Marriott character is similar: too bland and colourless, although he's not priggish. The rest of the characters are similarly undeveloped.

This is the first book of this series that I've read. Despite what I've said about this one, I'm inclined to read at least one earlier one in the series to see whether I'd give it a better rating. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Dec 22, 2013 |
...murder and motor cars
London, 1915 and New Year's Eve is being seen in by a Zeppelin air raid.
For Divisional Detective Inspector Ernest Hardcastle of the Met. the New Year brings a robbery at a jewelry-cum-pawnbroker's, and a murder.
Hardcastle is a bit of a stickler.
In terms of type, Hardcastle is not as likeable as the perceptive Foyle, more aware of rank and what's due than Jack Frost, maybe a bit more like Oscar Blaketon of Heartbeat, or not.
Really, there's very little personally endearing about the man, apart from his dedication to the chase, which sometimes is derailed or more often nailed by what DS Marriott calls, 'one of the guv'nor's flights of fancy.'
Set in his ways and pedantic, he has of course strong opinions. Women shouldn't work, or vote, the advent of police cars is questionable, the telephone 'is a new fangled device that won't last long.' Hardcastle does think fingerprints are a good thing. They have helped him to solve crimes in the past.He forges ahead oblivious to the demands he places on his underlings. His long suffering sidekick, Detective Sergeant Charles Marriott is on the case. Fortunately Marriott is 'accustomed to the DDI ignoring the common courtesies.'
Marriott is a splendid foil for Hardcastle. More caring and considerate of his fellow officers, yearning for time to spend with his family, he wonders from time to time why he took this position.
As an aside, in 1915, bowler hats are apparently de rigour for all Senior Detectives.
Murders, spies, deserters, MI5 interest, and Zionist plots are all grist for the mill in this latest Hardcastle and Marriott investigation.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Nov 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0727883127, Hardcover)

It is New Year’s Eve 1915 and the Hardcastle family are welcoming 1916 at their home in Kennington, London. But an hour into the New Year, Hardcastle is called to a murder in a jeweller’s shop in Vauxhall. In a first for the A Division senior detective, the killers apparently made their escape in a motor car.
As Hardcastle’s enquiry progresses, what he believed to be a fairly straightforward investigation turns into one with ramifications extending from Chelsea via Sussex and Surrey to France, close to the fighting on the Western Front. And as is so often the case in wartime, the army becomes involved and so, to Hardcastle’s dismay, does Scotland Yard’s Special Branch . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:45 -0400)

It is New Year's Eve 1915 and the Hardcastle family are welcoming 1916 at their home in Kennington, London. But an hour into the New Year, Hardcastle is called to a murder in a jeweller's shop in Vauxhall. In a first for the A Division senior detective, the killers apparently made their escape in a motor car.… (more)

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