Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Review of Princes Gate by Mark Ellis (Matador, 2011)
Princes Gate is the first in a war-time series featuring London-based DCI Frank Merlin, a widowed copper of Spanish descent. This first book is set during the ‘phoney war’ of early 1940, a time when many hoped that an agreement could be reach with Hitler rather than pursuing total war. Ellis taps into the political movements around such hopes as Merlin investigates two murders linked to the US embassy and Joseph Kennedy, a strong proponent of appeasement. Merlin is a likeable character, the story has a nice hook, and the plot is engaging, entwining a couple of intersecting threads. However, the pacing is a little uneven, the plot drifts a little in the middle, the tone is a sombre throughout, and I wasn’t entirely convinced by the closing pages. Nonetheless, Princes Gate is an interesting read and Merlin seems a character worth spending time with so I look forward to reading the second book in the series, Stalin’s Gold.