Thursday, 14 March 2013

Crossbones Yard

I was looking for something else, but I came across Crossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes in the library, and thought I might as well have a look at it.  It's described as "the first in the Alice Quentin series".  This is accurate so far as the expression "first" is concerned but I'm not so sure about the word "series", as at this stage there don't appear to have been any others!

Dr Alice Quentin, a psychologist, satisfies the requirement that the main character in modern day crime writing has to have lots of flaws:  she was abused as a child and has some hang-ups as a consequence (including claustrophobia), she has a messy personal life including a controlling boyfriend, a wannabe actress friend and mother in denial, she's barely on top of her workload and her high-flyer brother has had a breakdown and is on drugs.  But her use of coarse language is limited, she rides her bike and goes for runs, so I suppose that redeems her somewhat and perhaps means that this book isn't as "hardboiled" as some contemporary crime writing.

It will be interesting to see how her life develops if and when there are future books.

Anyway, back to the book.   It revolves around a series of extremely gruesome murders which are "copy cats" of crimes committed some years earlier by a couple, one of whom has died and the other is still in prison.   Of course, it's usual in modern crime books for the main character to "just happen" to be in all the places where the action happens, and this work is no exception.   However, it wasn't too "over the top" and  I found it quite absorbing in spite of what seemed to me to be a couple of loose ends and even though I did see the outcome coming,

There's lots of London character (local flavour also seems to be an essential ingredient in this type of book).   However, I was particularly interested in the fact that Crossbones Yard is an actual unconsecrated graveyard (see also the Wikipedia entry) - and in fact attracts 50,000 visitors a year.
EDIT - I subsequently sought out Crossbones Yard.

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