That’s what I think of these three recent mysteries by William Shaw. And you do want to read them in order of their publication date (as above), as it’s very much an evolving plot line.
The books feature an odd couple: old school copper DS Cathal “Paddy” Breen and his new partner, brash and outspoken Helen Tozer.
The stories are set in London, England in the late 1960s, a time and place so vividly evoked that it becomes almost like a major character. So you get drug use and drug overdoses and drug busts. Groovy art dealers, “happenings,” and fans hanging round the Beatles’ Abbey Road recording studio.
Shaw also manages to introduce some tough subjects into his books. In She’s Leaving Home, part of the plot revolves around Biafra. If you are not sure what–or where– that is, then you should google it. It’s one of the great, largely forgotten tragedies of the twentieth century.
The third title, A Song for the Brokenhearted, neatly ties up the plot line. But I found it maybe a little less enjoyable than the other two. For one thing, a lot of the action takes place on an English farm, less exciting a location than London. Also, the violence was a little too graphic for my taste. That said, I still really enjoyed the book.
William Shaw is a British pop culture journalist. His writing is so sharp and spot-on. If he is writing any more Breen and Tozer books, I’ll be first on the list to read them.
– Penny D.