A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.
The Bedlam Detective, by Stephen Gallagher (Crown):
British author Stephen Gallagher, who has contributed scripts to BBC-TV’s Doctor Who as well as the short-lived CBS-TV drama Eleventh Hour, wrote one of the most extraordinary novels I read in 2007: The Kingdom of Bones, a supernatural historical thriller. Now he’s back with this whodunit, set in England in 1912, that introduces Sebastian Becker, an ex-Pinkerton agent hired to investigate crimes that involve “men of property” whose sanity is in question. In these pages he takes on the mystery of Sir Owain Lancaster, who’s recently returned from South America, where his wife and son were killed. Lancaster blames their deaths on seemingly prehistoric creatures--which he believes have trailed him back to Europe and were recently responsible for killing a pair of young girls. That seems hard to credit ... except there are local legends of a beast haunting the moor, and Becker’s seen too many odd things in his time to dismiss the absurd as impossible.