It is 1963, and Kate O’Donnell has just moved from Liverpool to London to pursue a career in photography and, in her spare time, look for her brother, Tom, who has not written home in the two years since he left for London. Kate’s determination lands her a steady job with a small photography company and some disturbing news about Tom: he’s wanted by the police for the murder of his boyfriend. With the help of a flirtatious police detective named Harry Barnard, Kate learns more than she bargained for about Tom’s secret life and London’s dangerous underworld.
Dead Beat features lots of interesting details about England in the early ’60s. In particular, I really enjoyed the bits about The Beatles and Hall’s comparisons of life in Liverpool and in London at that time. However, I was a little disappointed in the novel’s lack of suspense. There were no big surprises or plot twists as I’ve come to expect in a mystery/crime story. In all, however, Dead Beat is an enjoyable read.