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Oswald, James - 'The Hangman's Song'
Paperback: 528 pages (Feb. 2014) Publisher: Penguin ISBN: 1405913185

A depressed young man is discovered in his home in Edinburgh dead as the result of hanging. Was it suicide? There was an unsigned but rather strangely worded note left behind and Inspector Tony McLean is very concerned that all may not be what it appears. Soon another hanged victim is discovered and the circumstances and the wording of the the note left behind are oddly similar. Tony with the junior detectives assisting him find it difficult to establish a motive for the deaths but they do locate a common source for the rope that was used in these deaths. A third victim of hanging is soon located.

Tony would like to focus all his attention on trying to establish who killed all these young people but his superior, acting Detective Superintendent Charles Duguid has other ideas, he believes Tony shouldn't bother with what he considers should be suicides and instead focus his attention on helping out in the Sexual Crime Unit (Vice). So Tony has to spend a good proportion of the days checking out a case of human trafficking and prostitution. Whilst all of this police work is going we are hearing about Tony's back story, how his parents died tragically when he was very young and how he was brought up by his very beloved grand-mother and the large fortune and huge house she left him when she passed away. Tony is consequently independently wealthy enough not to need to work, but feels he has to and some of his colleagues seem to resent this and practical jokes are constantly being played on him. Apart from the death of his parents and grandmother he also lost his fiancee during a murder and he is looking after, with some help, a young lady who was a police photographer until an accident robbed her of most of her memory.

This is the third book in the Detective Inspector Tony McLean series and a lot has happened in the previous books which I felt wasn't fully explained in this one, which is the first that I've read. Nevertheless it was an exceptionally well-written and engaging police procedural. I look forward to reading more books by this very talented author. Extremely well recommended.

Terry Halligan, England
May 2014

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 27/07/2014 11:43