I only quite recently realised how deficit my knowledge of old classic crime novels or even authors was (as anyone following my reviews could attest). I am slowly working my way through (my) unknowns to identify if I am a true fan of the style of fiction. With this work as an example, I would say I need more familiarity with them but am definitely partial to the lot.
The reason for claiming I need to get used to the styles of these older authors is the speed of narration. The story only picks up beyond a point and some of them (like this one) do not provide too much of a character background in the time before the problem actually arises. If that bit had been shorter, I would have actually rated this five stars. A group out as a ‘reading party’ are enjoying a night out. This involves some rash decisions and a lot of jabbing each other with words. Finally, that scene ends and a new day dawns. This day sees our hero David Henchman out for an early walk to gather his thoughts and ponder over existential thoughts and read a little. His trek has him lost and he tumbles on to an odd situation. He finds a body followed by a suspect. When he tries to keep the suspect in his sights, David has to run for his life quite literally and very very fast. The trail that David leaves behind and the man he befriends turns out to be an unlikely powerful hero. This is the John Appleby of the series. I have never encountered the man and his work before but his behaviour towards David is equal parts faith and other parts as an elder would talk to a child they are humouring. This combination makes for an interesting read.
Although the beginning of the tale was slow, once the plot thickened there was a lot to take in. It was funny in a serious fashion and overall was enjoyable. I could never have guessed the outcome although a few tricks were apparent. There are a lot of red herrings thrown our way but it is easy to accept the final reveal because of the gradual buildup. I would definitely pick up more books by the author and of John Appleby
I received an ARC thanks to the publishers and NetGalley but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.