The Dockland Murder (Blitz Detective 5)

Written by Mike Hollow
Review by Douglas Kemp

In this fifth in the Detective Inspector Jago/Blitz series, it is early November 1940, and the body of a murdered man, Ray Lambert, who was a member of the Home Guard, is found in London’s Royal Albert Dock. John Jago and his reliable, but ever-famished assistant Detective Constable Peter Cradock have another case to solve, during the sustained German aerial attacks on London, particularly Jago’s patch, around the East of the capital.  Jago tackles the case as he has done in the previous four books, with his trademark intelligence and elegance, understanding the often murky motivations that prompt human behaviour.

A good portion of the story is set in the strange, closed world of London’s docks, that have now disappeared, and the author expertly re-creates the atmosphere and customs of the times well. There is the occasional speechifying by characters, and the story does not progress in any considerable way – not a problem for this reader as a police procedural tale, but others may be puzzled by the static nature of the narrative. Still, a most enjoyable read, as have been all the previous books in this excellent and engaging series.