Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Bellingham Bloodbath

Author: Gregory Harris
Genre: Historical Mystery
Type: Kindle e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley
Series: #2 in the Colin Pendragon mystery series
Publisher: Kensington Books
First Published: August 26, 2014
First Line: "One of Her Majesty's coaches was waiting to whisk us off to Buckingham Palace."

Book Description from GoodReadsAfter a captain in Her Majesty's Guard and his young wife are brutally murdered in their flat, master sleuth Colin Pendragon and his partner Ethan Pruitt are summoned to Buckingham Palace. Major Hampstead demands discretion at all costs to preserve the reputation of the Guard and insists Pendragon participate in the cover-up by misleading the press. In response, Pendragon makes the bold claim that he will solve the case in no more than three days' time or he will oblige the major and compromise himself.

Racing against the clock - and thwarted at every turn by their Scotland Yard nemesis Inspector Emmett Varcoe - Pendragon and Pruitt begin to assemble the clues around the grisly homicide, probing into private lives and uncovering closely guarded secrets. As the minutes tick away, the pressure - and the danger - mounts as Pendragon's integrity is on the line and a cold-blooded killer remains on the streets.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  I really enjoyed reading The Arnifour Affair, the first book in this series back in December 2013. So when I saw that Gregory Harris had a second book in this series out I jumped at the chance to read it.  I do love me a Victorian mystery with unique characters.

Unfortunately, I felt that this book suffered a little from the sophomoric blues and I didn't find it nearly as riveting.  Even though there is a definite time crunch for the duo to solve the crimes, it lacked suspense and I really missed the humour between the men and Mrs Behmoth.  She was a breath of fresh air in the first book as she put the men in their place.  And while she was in The Bellingham Bloodbath she was a very tertiary character and I missed her.

By this second book in the series I was hoping to get a deeper look into the characters, their relationships and how they solve the crimes.  I still like how Colin and Ethan's relationship is written in a very casual way since the novelty of the relationship has worn off by the second book.  That said, I was hoping for a better look into their relationship and their pasts. The reader gets a glimpse into Ethan's past but Colin is still very much a mystery.

What I do know about Colin Pendragon is that he continues to have a very strong Sherlock Holmes vibe to him.  He is moody, brooding, self-centred, brilliant and yes, very arrogant.  Without getting a chance to see more of Colin's inner workings I fear that he will begin to be (if not already) just a Sherlock cliché.  I continue to have a weak understanding about how Colin deduces whodunit or even how he feels about situations and people.  Instead his thought processes were replaced with scenes where he was either off pumping iron or doing push-ups while he figured out the mystery.  As a reader, I prefer to see how the sleuth comes to his or her predictions and ultimately solves the case.  In this book the reader is supposed to just assume that Colin knows what he's doing and that didn't sit well with me.

Ethan's character came off as much more of a petty doormat not wanting to disrupt the brilliance that is Colin even though he came up with some great tips on his own.  And their 'spat' seemed petty and didn't endear either of them to me or give me insight into their relationship (if that's what Harris was going for).

As in the first book there are two mysteries that Colin and Ethan are trying to solve.  While there was enough momentum to keep me reading I can't help but feel that the mysteries weren't as dynamic this time around.  And while I did find the overall theme of tolerance to be a good message the character development and suspense weren't as gripping or enlightening as I was hoping. 

With this review it sounds like I didn't like this book but I did.  I guess I was just hoping for more.  In the end I thought that this was a quick and easy read and while I didn't love it as much as The Arnifour Affair it is still a decent follow up.  I'm hoping that in the future books of the series the author will take the time to help the reader understand the enigma that is Colin Pendragon.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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