Dance of Death

Written by Edward Marston
Review by Val Loh

Set in 1916, this is the fifth title in the Home Front Detective Series. Dancer Simon Wilder leaves his house, lost in his own thoughts, not realising that as the drama of another Zeppelin raid breaks out around him he is being stalked. The Zeppelin is hit and turns into a fireball. All eyes are watching the spectacle with the exception of Wilder’s murderer. The task of discovering who killed him, and why, falls to Inspector Marmion and the handsome Sergeant Keedy.

The main focus of the novel is the intricate and mysterious murder mystery. However, the amazing detail, which is slipped in about the horror and dramatic changes occurring, due to the war, is revealed through the characters within the plot. The need for women to do men’s work and the existence of the Women’s Police Force is one major development, and how they were viewed by the communities they served is shown quite clearly. Many men went to war, many did not return and of those who did, they often returned physically wounded and mentally scarred. The effect upon the families who had to adapt and try to understand how to cope with their changed relative(s) is also sympathetically revealed.

The novel is a joy to read. The masterly way the story is crafted makes the mystery an enjoyable puzzle to fathom, the surprising truth being revealed in the conclusion. The personal lives of Marmion and Keedy overlap, but not when it comes to their professional working relationship. Their camaraderie makes for a detective duo who, I hope, have many more mysteries to solve. I would recommend this book to lovers of beautifully written and crafted crime fiction.