Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. She is currently mid-series with Marsh & Daughter set in today’s Kent. Her new series, to which her classic car buff husband Jim has contributed his specialist knowledge, features car detective Jack Colby, who tackles crime in the fast lane.
Robert Ryan’s great strength is his ability to recreate the everyday conditions of warfare in horrific detail, from the deaths that the participants faced daily to the way they lived and the medical treatment available.
This is strikingly the case in Dead Man’s Land, his new historical thriller set near Ypres in the First World War. Where death is such a frequent visitor to thousands, the murder of an individual could so easily go undetected.
Not by the sleuth in Dead Man’s Land, however, for he is Major John Watson of the Royal Army Medical Corps, better known as Dr Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame. The two men have parted company on unhappy terms and no longer work as a team, but Sherlock is constantly in Watson’s mind as he battles to uncover the truth behind not just one death but a series before the killer strikes again. He has his own partner in the hunt, the feisty Mrs Georgina Gregson, VAD and former suffragette.
The plot is slow to get underway, perhaps for the very reason that the stark descriptions of the first world war setting overshadow it, but when the pace quickens the two dovetail leading up to a thrilling conclusion.