A gentleman’s murder

Christopher Huang
2018
FICTION H874g

The year is 1924. The cobblestoned streets of St. James ring with jazz as Britain races forward into an age of peace and prosperity. London’s back alleys, however, are filled with broken soldiers and still enshadowed by the lingering horrors of the Great War. Only a few years removed from the trenches of Flanders himself, Lieutenant Eric Peterkin has just been granted membership in the most prestigious soldiers-only club in London: The Britannia. But when a gentleman’s wager ends with a member stabbed to death, the victim’s last words echo in the Lieutenant’s head: that he would « soon right a great wrong from the past. » Eric is certain that one of his fellow members is the murderer: but who? Eric’s investigation will draw him far from the marbled halls of the Britannia, to the shadowy remains of a dilapidated war hospital and the heroin dens of Limehouse. And as the facade of gentlemenhood cracks, Eric faces a Matryoshka doll of murder, vice, and secrets pointing not only to the officers of his own club but the very investigator assigned by Scotland Yard.

This is a wonderful whodunnit in the style of Agatha Christie with a cast of well-drawn characters that leap off the page. Chistopher Huang, who lives in Montreal, plunges us into 1924 London amongst the gentlemen set of a private club. This finely plotted novel is tremendously satisfying with its plot twists and its underlying social commentary about the deep and personal effect of the war on individuals. A stellar mystery!