Monday, 12 October 2015

This Thing of Darkness by Harry Bingham

They seem like perfect crimes: a burglary through a top-storey window, way beyond the reach of any ladder, and two murders dressed up as suicides with no forensics to indicate otherwise. Each bear the hand of a master rock climber, nick-named Stonemonkey, and nobody sees the connection until DC Fiona Griffiths reviews the cases.

Griffiths is supposed to be helping sift evidence to nail a rapist and studying for her sergeant’s exam. Against the advice of her governor, desk-thumping DCI Jackson, she becomes easily side-tracked. Her perseverance pays off when the Stonemonkey cases turn into a bigger crime than anyone could have imagined, with a huge pay-off for its criminal masterminds. Griffiths’ tendency to go-it-along throws her into some tricky situations so she has to rely on her martial arts skills and gritty determination to bring in the perpetrators.

Griffiths is a brilliant creation. She has a personality issue called Cotard’s Syndrome which causes people to believe they are dead. Fortunately she’s had a lot of counselling and has plenty of coping mechanisms, but it makes it difficult to form relationships when you can’t see the world as other people see it.

This Thing of Darkness is the first of Harry Bingham’s Fiona Griffiths mysteries that I have read but I enjoyed it so much that I’ll be adding them to my must-read list. The novel has a vivid first person narration that draws you in and non-stop action that makes it hard to put down. The writing is excellent and the settings varied and evocatively described. It’s always a pleasure to find a well put-together thriller and this delivers in every way.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: This Thing of Darkness

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