My mom always gives me books after she’s done reading them. She prefers historical fiction, and well, to be honest, I don’t. So I’m always, “great, thanks! Another book I probably won’t enjoy but will feel obligated to read because you gave it to me! Thanks mom!” and I add it to my bookshelf.
She gave me The Yard several years ago. Maybe 3, maybe even more than that. If you saw the amount of books I own, you’d probably try to lock me up or get me on the next season of Hoarders. I have a system that only I understand, and just STOP JUDGING ME.
I decided to give The Yard an honest try. I do enjoy crime novels, and it’s a historical crime novel. Set in London just after the Jack the Ripper wave of crime, it features a dead cop and his Scotland Yard colleagues’ race to find his murderer. The story switches perspectives between the police and the murderer, so we know who did it way before they do. There’s also some other miscellaneous crimes that are part of minor storylines throughout the novel. Though the book is dauntingly thick, the chapters are mostly short and they jump to various parts of the plot, which helps move the action along quite nicely.
As a fan of crime novels, I found it interesting that in this historical period, fingerprint technology was something people were just starting to talk about. People didn’t even know that fingerprints were unique – but this comes into play in this novel. I also enjoyed the varied cast of characters employed in the book. With a large cast, sometimes it’s hard to remember who’s who. But newcomer and head of investigation Day stands out as a newlywed whose wife has “married down” out of wealth, and is trying to learn how to keep a home. Hammersmith is another standout in the novel. He discovers a crime that is a tangent of the main plot, and gets mixed up with the family who lives in the house where the crime occurred. The dancing man is a strange but intriguing character who holds the key to solving the mystery. And of course the murderer himself, the tailor, is a memorable character.
This was well done from start to finish, and I enjoyed every page of it. Maybe I should give my mom more credit for picking good books, period – historical or not.