Dead Centre

Written by Joan Lock
Review by jay Dixon

A crime novel set in 1887, Dead Centre is the seventh Inspector Best mystery, and is set against the daily protests of the poor in the year of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. It concerns the murder of a prominent member of a socialist organisation who one morning is found dead at the foot of Nelson’s Column, after the homeless have taken over Trafalgar Square for the night.

The author obviously knows late Victorian London well, and I certainly learnt a lot as I read. But that was just the trouble – there is so much information given about Victorian society that I felt as if I were reading a treatise on the period, rather than a fictional story set in the period. I got the impression that the author was more interested in the social conditions of the poor than in her characters and their story, and when the murderer was caught through his confession, and not through detective work, I did wonder why she was writing fiction at all. However, she has received very good reviews for the other books in the series, so maybe it is just me who could not get caught up in the story.