Always on the lookout for a good mystery, I’m delighted to be participating in author R. Michael Phillips’ Great Escape Virtual Book Tour for his current release, PASSAGE OF CRIME.
This is the third installment in the author’s Ernie Bisquets Mystery series. As part of the tour, I’m sharing my thoughts on this charming book and the author is hosting a tour-wide giveaway for a signed hardcover copy of his book (see details at the end of the post).
PASSAGE OF CRIME is a traditional English mystery that brings together the unlikely combination of a dowdy old Scotland Yard Inspector and Ernie Bisquets, a reformed pickpocket, in this whodunit set in contemporary London.
Here’s a brief synopsis:
London’s East End, once known for poor boroughs and a derelict rail yard, is enjoying an optimistic resurgence. It’s becoming an affordable option for middleclass residents looking to have their pounds go further. Despite this sweeping out of old rubbish, a cautious step is still advised when passing by a few remaining dark alleys. If only Mary Walsh had listened.
Prophet Brown, a disfigured, pathetic little man, called Detective Inspector Flannel after stumbling upon the body of a young woman in one such alley. Flannel quickly realizes she is not the random victim she appears. Add to that, the crime scene is hauntingly reminiscent of an old unsolved case; a case that almost ended an otherwise brilliant career eight years ago. For the moment, Prophet Brown is the only solid link between the two cases. He has been in the employ of a charismatic and well-connected Member of Parliament for 17 years–the very man Flannel unsuccessfully accused of the murders in the previous case.
Flannel finds himself navigating a very treacherous course. His superiors have warned him for the last time to tread cautiously around the MP, and the rising tide of the past threatens to pull him under. Reluctantly, Inspector Flannel turns to a most unlikely ally, a reformed pickpocket named Ernie Bisquets. Together they disentangle a mesh of old lies and current clues attempting to bring a ruthless murderer to justice–ignoring the dangerous notion of murder being a carefully disguised trait passed from one generation to the next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael is a classically trained artist who has been painting for over 25 years. By combining his creative talents with a passion for London he conceived the fictional world of the East London Adventurers Club, home to The Ernie Bisquets Mystery Series.
Three books in the series are complete and there are plans for at least five additional books following the adventurers of London’s most remarkable pickpocket.
Michael is a proud member of the Crime Writer’s Association and Mystery Writers Of America.
To find out more on Michael and his writing, visit his website, check out his blog and find him on Goodreads.
Now here are my thoughts on this fascinating mystery.
PASSAGE OF CRIME by R. Michael Phillips
Author R. Michael Phillips’ flare for descriptions and details places the reader in the middle of the scene making you feel a part of the action. Whether in the present or looking at crimes of the past, Phillips makes the story flow smoothly and at a steady pace.
The main characters, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Flannel and reformed pickpocket Ernie Bisquets, are well-developed, realistic and quite likable. Among the core of secondary characters is Prophet Brown, a pathetic man in the employ of a well-respected Member of Parliament, who adds a bit of color to the story. The host of characters mesh well together and add depth to the story.
Set in contemporary London, PASSAGE OF CRIME deals with the body of a young woman found in the East End by Prophet Brown. He in turn notifies Detective Inspector Flannel who realizes the woman may not be a random victim. In fact, the crime scene resembles an old unsolved case from eight years prior that almost ended Flannel’s career. The two cases are linked by Brown and his well-connected employer, Lord Alfred Raventhorn, a man Flannel unsuccessfully accused of the previous murder.
Flannel knows he can’t pursue Raventhorn as the killer, but he has his suspensions. Doing the only thing he can, he turns to an unlikely ally, Ernie Bisquets, a reformed pickpocket. Together they unravel a cluster of lies and clues hoping to stop the killer before another victim is claimed. Their search could lead them to generations of murders.
Phillips has created a well-balanced story that offers not only murder, mystery and suspense, but a bit of romance and humor. The plot draws you in and holds you spell-bound until the end.
This is the third installment in the Ernie Bisquets series, but can be read as a standalone. New readers won’t be left in the dark not having read the previous books.
With a hint of ‘Jack the Ripper’ in the mix, PASSAGE OF CRIME will keep you guessing until the end.
Passage of Crime by R. Michael Phillips, An Ernie Bisquets Mystery, Locked Door, @2013, ISBN: 978-0615854922, Paperback, 284 Pages
FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me as part of the author’s blog tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
For additional chances to win a signed hardcover copy of PASSAGE OF CRIME, visit the following blogs that are participating in the tour or stop by the author’s tour page.
January 14 - Christa Reads and Writes - Review, Guest Post
January 15 - Psychotic State Book Reviews - Review
January 16 – Kelly P’s Blog - Interview
January 17 - readalot blog - Review
January 18 - A Blue Million Books - Guest Post
January 19 – off
January 21 - off
January 22 - Books-n-Kisses – Review
January 23 - rantin' ravin' and reading - Guest Post
January 24 - Latte Da! - Review- Interview
January 25 – dru's book musing - Guest Post
Using the Rafflecopter widget on the author's tour page, enter for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of PASSAGE OF CRIME.
Thanks for stopping by today. Are you a fan of London-themed mysteries? Be sure to enter for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of PASSAGE OF CRIME.