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The Black Country
Cover of The Black Country
The Black Country
Murder Squad Series, Book 2
The New York Times Book Review said of The Yard, "If Charles Dickens isn't somewhere clapping his hands...Wilkie Collins surely is." Now Alex Grecian returns with his new novel of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad—and it's a gripper.
The British Midlands. Inhabitants call it the "Black Country"—and with good reason. Bad things happen there.
When three members of a prominent family disappear from the Midlands—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird's nest—Scotland Yard's Murder Squad is called in. But Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith have stepped into something much more bizarre and complicated than expected.
Superstitions abound in the intertwined histories of the villagers, including a local legend about a monster some claim to have seen. In addition, a mysterious epidemic is killing off the inhabitants, and the village itself is sinking into the coal mines below. Day and Hammersmith soon realize that they, too, are in over their heads. And the more they investigate, the more they fear that they may never be allowed to leave.
The New York Times Book Review said of The Yard, "If Charles Dickens isn't somewhere clapping his hands...Wilkie Collins surely is." Now Alex Grecian returns with his new novel of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad—and it's a gripper.
The British Midlands. Inhabitants call it the "Black Country"—and with good reason. Bad things happen there.
When three members of a prominent family disappear from the Midlands—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird's nest—Scotland Yard's Murder Squad is called in. But Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith have stepped into something much more bizarre and complicated than expected.
Superstitions abound in the intertwined histories of the villagers, including a local legend about a monster some claim to have seen. In addition, a mysterious epidemic is killing off the inhabitants, and the village itself is sinking into the coal mines below. Day and Hammersmith soon realize that they, too, are in over their heads. And the more they investigate, the more they fear that they may never be allowed to leave.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 8, 2013
    Set in 1890, Grecian’s startling and spooky sequel to The Yard (2012) charts the efforts of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad to locate a missing married couple and their toddler in Britain’s industrial Midlands. In the village of Blackhampton, Insp. Walter Day and his team discover more than one mystery: a girl finds an eyeball under a tree, scores of townspeople are stricken with an unexplained plague, and a hideous figure is lurking in the woods with a gun. Battling local terror and superstition, the squad must also contend with the town’s physical collapse into the mines beneath it. Grecian’s bold melding of horror with historical elements more than compensates for the dramatic overkill at the end. The novel’s varied relationships balance pathos with humor and point up lessons on human responsibility—on what we owe to those with whom we’re connected. The nascent bond between Day and Sgt. Nevil Hammersmith is especially appealing, hinting at many rich developments to come. Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company.

  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2013
    Scotland Yard inspector Walter Day, first introduced in Grecian's The Yard (2012), returns to help solve a murder or two in the Black Country of the Midlands. The landscape is grimy, muddy and slag-strewn--in other words, a perfect climate for murder--but other mysterious goings-on also haunt the village of Blackhampton, especially a plaguelike illness affecting hundreds of townspeople. Day had originally been called in from London along with his assistant, Nevil Hammersmith, to investigate the disappearance of a couple, Sutton and Hester Price, and their young son, Oliver. The Prices leave three more children behind--Peter, Anna and Virginia--all of them precocious and creepy. It turns out one of the missing Prices and the community disease are related when Day discovers Oliver's body at the bottom of a well from which folks have been drawing their drinking water. Almost immediately after Day removes the body, Sutton returns, reclaiming the three remaining children. Throughout the elaboration of these mysteries, other puzzles emerge, like the appearance in Blackhampton of Campbell, a giant of a man whose cover is that he's a bird-watcher. We also meet, somewhat elliptically, a menacing figure called simply The American, whose face had been horribly mutilated by Campbell at Andersonville Prison in 1865; 25 years later, he's still seeking revenge. And Campbell, it turns out, had been enamored years earlier with Hester Price, so Sutton Price's sudden reappearance leads to fighting that emerges from jealousy. Grecian packs in almost more plot than a body can stand, but he presents with fine precision the gray and gritty atmosphere of late-Victorian England.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Murder Squad Series, Book 2
Alex Grecian
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