The Murder Book

This is the second book in our A to Z Mystery Tour through the public library. I will be choosing one book (hopefully the first book) from a mystery series on each shelf in my library’s mystery section, in alphabetical order by author, and reviewing it here. I will also add the series title list for each book to the website under Series in Order in the menu.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
The Murder Book Book Cover

Jane A. Adams 2016 – First in the Henry Johnstone Mysteries

England, 1928: Mary Fields and her daughter Ruby are dead. There is a third person murdered as well; his unknown identity is presented as the focus of the story in the front cover of the dust jacket.

I’m generally not a fan of the police prodecural mystery, which might explain my impatience with the book’s slow pace (this could have been a short story). Others might enjoy the details, but I skimmed most of the text after page 40 or so.

My 2.5 star rating is related to the story rather than the pace. The blurb on the dust jacket is misleading (the identity of the third body is irrelevant and anticlimactic), some of the dialogue is awkward, and there isn’t really a story arc at all. The narrative just ends, with no surprises.

The author did make an effort to slightly flesh out the Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Henry Johnstone and his more compassionate sergeant, Mickey Hitchens. There are excerpts from Johnstone’s journal, which is why this first installment is called “The Murder Book.”

Avid police procedural devotees may enjoy The Murder Book, but it wasn’t my cup of English tea.

p.s. In researching the remaining titles in the series, I found that Goodreads readers rated the rest of the books considerably higher than they rated this book; if you love police procedurals, this is promising and possibly a good reason to read #1. I’ve made a list of all the books in the series available for your reference.

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