Laura Skippen is an obsessive reader and loves crime books, thrillers and history, preferably all three. All this reading (others might call it procrastination) means she has yet to get any of her own ideas on paper.
If you are squeamish about eyes, or more specifically nasty things happening to eyes, look away now. This is not the book for you. If you can cope with the occasional enucleation then the third book featuring Detective Inspector Silas “Quick-Fire” Quinn is an excellent, atmospheric choice
The First World War is fast approaching and Quinn and his team have been asked to keep an eye out (I quote) for German spies. The orders are vague though and Quinn has his own problems; he is hopeless with women, someone is following him, and he has a reputation (well-earned) for killing the perpetrators of recent crimes which has earned him a certain notoriety, and his nickname, in the newspapers.
His new celebrity status means he has received an invite to the premiere of “The Eyes of the Beholder” by infamous Austrian film director, Konrad Waechter. When there seem to be connections between the film and possible covert German activity Quinn decides to attend. He soon discovers the darker side of the motion picture industry when a woman is brutally attacked outside the premiere in a manner echoing the film. Could someone be copying the gruesome events depicted on screen?
Quinn has to investigate a cast of unpleasant characters, from Porrick, the owner of a chain of picture palaces who has a previous charge of manslaughter against his name, to Waechter, who may or may not have killed a man in a duel and lost his eye in the process. Fortunately Quinn has motion picture obsessed Detective Sergeant Macadam and xenophobic Sergeant Inchball to help him with his inquiries and try to ensure he doesn’t kill any more suspects.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book and I’d like to read even more of Quinn’s sidekicks who provide some humour in what is otherwise quite a macabre tale. Quinn seems to have an interesting back story and as this is the first I’ve read in the series I’ll certainly be going back to the beginning to learn more about him. That said this book is still a great read on its own and I felt quite caught up in the heady, early days of silent films when moving pictures were a thrilling novelty. I thought more might have been made of the tense atmosphere in the build up to the war which is evident in the beginning of the book. However, perhaps the author is saving this for the next instalment? I hope so.