The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid: Lennox 5

Written by Craig Russell
Review by Douglas Kemp

Glasgow in the late 1950s. Lennox is a private investigator, of Canadian birth, who works on the margins of legality amidst the crime and criminals of the gritty Scottish city. He is asked to do a job, which involves stealing some work papers from a foundry in Glasgow. The money seems suspiciously generous for what appears to be a simple task, and when he subcontracts out the theft to a friend, the eponymous Thomas Quaid, it all goes badly wrong, ending in Quaid’s death. The police are sure it was just an accident, but Lennox, and Quaid’s attractive sister Jennifer, both believe that it was murder.

Jennifer asks Lennox to look into the case, and he uncovers a web of foul corruption and perversion that goes to the very top of Glaswegian society. Lennox comes under great personal jeopardy as his investigations proceed, and he is assisted by a variety of Glasgow’s underworld mob to confront and extirpate the horrors and to avenge the death of his friend Quaid.

Although this is the fifth in the series, I did not feel that I was missing out on the narrative in not having read the previous books. The feel of the novel is distinctly noir-ish, with Lennox (who, in the best traditions of hard-boiled PIs, does not use his given name) the first-person narrator, who appears to be nigh on irresistible to the women of Glasgow, specialising in smart one-liners, dealing out justice to those who deserve it, but with a conscience.