Hardcastle’s Burglar

Written by Graham Ison
Review by Geoffrey Harfield

This is a most enjoyable police procedural, fast paced and easy to follow, an expert piece with a clever subtlety reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes.
Hardcastle’s Burglar is set during WW1 in London and Surrey about the time of the great Somme battle. Intelligent and thorough, with accurate and detailed research from personal experience, Ison makes it a quick and satisfying read.
The seventh of the DDI Hardcastle series carries the reader through the detection of a baronet’s enigmatic murder. A set of believable coppers, characterised in detail, and the ever irascible Hardcastle with his side-kick DS Marriot, oscillate between Canon Row nick and a mansion on Kingston Hill. There, retired Colonel Sir Adrian Rivers is found shot. Add to this puzzle Sir Adrian’s second, new and pretty wife with a bookie father, and one has an intriguing detective novel.

Guess what? There is a new will leaving all Sir Adrian’s money to the new Lady Rivers, now a pert young widow. This cuts out his army officer sons, one a General, soon to return to the boodbath in France.

Well constructed syntax carries the story, but I found too many dialogue attributions and double abbreviations like ‘I’d’ve’ and ‘he’d’ve’ irritating. There is good use of police and cockney rhyming slang explained in a glossary but the occasional long and obscure word like ‘yarmulke’ creeps in.
This is one of the very few books I have rattled through in recent years. I shall be looking for more in the Hardcastle series. Ison obviously enjoys his writing.