1915. With England in the midst of war, Detective Inspector Ernest Hardcastle gets pulled from the streets of London into an international investigation. A jeweler is murdered, which makes theft the likely motive, but the thief escapes in a motor car – a rare occurrence – and the case rises to another level. When DI Hardcastle, who detests automobiles, follows the car to its owner, a man of mysterious means, he crosses paths with his nemesis, Special Branch. The political arm of Scotland Yard is content to leave routine murderers to Hardcastle while expecting his assistance with enemies of the state. In this case, a ring of conspirators is supporting England’s wartime enemies to achieve very personal goals.
The plot is original, but the dialogue is heavy going. Every question has an answer and every comment a response, with too much that is unnecessary left in. When Sergeant Marriott sighs at Hardcastle’s stale homilies or groans at his clichés, you may groan with him. Hardcastle’s Traitors is the eleventh in a popular series (after Hardcastle’s Frustration, 2013.)