Striking Murder

Written by A. J. Wright
Review by Ruth Downie

Wigan, Lancashire, 1893. The town is paralyzed by a coal miners’ strike, and many families are struggling to survive in the bitter winter weather. Arthur Morris, wealthy mine-owner, receives a mysterious letter that causes him to abandon his comfortable family dinner and head for a part of town where many of his striking workers and their desperate families live. Hours later he is still there, lying near the house of the Haggerty family, murdered. Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan is under pressure to find the killer before tempers flare and the violence spreads. Is the murder connected with the tragic death of Bridie Haggerty’s husband? What of the man Molly Haggerty turned away, strike leader Frank Latchford? Who is the mysterious one-eyed man? And why won’t Morris’s son tell the police where he went that night?

Striking Murder has a convincing sense of time and place. A.J. Wright’s characters range from the top to the bottom of the social scale and the book vividly depicts the tensions and ramifications of the miners’ strike. The mystery is equally strong: the plot is fast-paced and cleverly strewn with red herrings and subtle clues. Highly recommended.