The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series #2)

( 25 )

Overview

Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad returns, in the stunning new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestseller The Yard.

The British Midlands. It’s called the “Black Country” for a reason. Bad things happen there.

When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Fresh off the ...

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The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series #2)

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Overview

Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad returns, in the stunning new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestseller The Yard.

The British Midlands. It’s called the “Black Country” for a reason. Bad things happen there.

When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Fresh off the grisly 1889 murders of The Yard, Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, but they have no idea what they’re about to get into. The villagers have intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. Superstitions abound. And the village itself is slowly sinking into the mines beneath it.

Not even the arrival of forensics pioneer Dr. Bernard Kingsley seems to help. In fact, the more the three of them investigate, the more they realize they may never be allowed to leave. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Scotland Yard Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith are still recovering from the energetic sleuthing that solved the 1889 serial killing described in The Yard, but their latest assignment promises no rest at all for the weary. An entire elite family from a coal-mining village has vanished and the prospects for their safe return do not look promising, especially after a human eyeball is found. Meanwhile, the local populace appears to comprise one messy contingent of possible suspects. Fortunately, Day, Hammersmith, and forensics wizard Dr. Bernard Kingsley are ready, willing, and extraordinarily able to hunt down leads one by one. A worthy successor to The Yard.

Publishers Weekly - Audio
The small mining town of Blackhampton is a far cry from the bustling streets of Victorian London, but when three members of a prominent family go missing and a human eyeball is found in a bird’s nest, Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith of Scotland Yard’s murder squad are brought in to help the local police in their search for the missing family. When they arrive they find a town drenched in secrets, steeped in old superstitions, and haunted by the past and death. What happened to the family? Whose eye was in the nest? And what is the mysterious illness that is striking down the town’s populace? These are only a few of the many questions that Day and Hammersmith must find answers to during their time in the Black Country. Toby Leonard Moore is in fine form as he expertly brings Grecian’s historical mystery to life.With his even, pleasantly accented voice and calm, methodical pacing, Moore skillfully pulls listener sin and guides them through the twists and turns of this dark and captivating tale. At the same time he convincingly creates a wide range of diverse characterizations.A Putnam hardcover. (May)
Library Journal - Audio
Grecian (The Yard) continues his Victorian-era detective series as he brings back Insp. Walter Day and Sgt. Nevil Hammersmith of the Scotland Yard. In this outing, they have two days to solve the disappearance of several family members in an isolated coal mining village. Accompanied by forensics pioneer Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the men are immersed in a baffling mystery in a community where secrets and superstitions abound. Australian actor Toby Leonard Moore does a good job bringing the characters’ regional accents to life.

Verdict This atmospheric novel is recommended for fans of historical mysteries.—Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1890, Grecian’s startling and spooky sequel to The Yard (2012) charts the efforts of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad to locate a missing married couple and their toddler in Britain’s industrial Midlands. In the village of Blackhampton, Insp. Walter Day and his team discover more than one mystery: a girl finds an eyeball under a tree, scores of townspeople are stricken with an unexplained plague, and a hideous figure is lurking in the woods with a gun. Battling local terror and superstition, the squad must also contend with the town’s physical collapse into the mines beneath it. Grecian’s bold melding of horror with historical elements more than compensates for the dramatic overkill at the end. The novel’s varied relationships balance pathos with humor and point up lessons on human responsibility—on what we owe to those with whom we’re connected. The nascent bond between Day and Sgt. Nevil Hammersmith is especially appealing, hinting at many rich developments to come. Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company. (May)
Library Journal
The Murder Squad is back on the case! When a small boy and his parents go missing, Insp. Walter Day and Sgt. Nevil Hammersmith trade the fog of London for the coal mines of the British Midlands.The duo arrive in the tiny village of Blackhampton, weighted down under a thick layer of snow, secrets, and superstition. Soon, the case that was supposed to be open-and-shut has developed more twists and turns than the labyrinthine mining tunnels underlying the village. As a deadly stranger watches, more villagers disappear and Hammersmith develops a mysterious illness.

Verdict Grecian’s (The Yard) latest Murder Squad adventure is a fast-paced homage to the Victorian countryside mysteries of Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone; The Woman in White) and Charles Dickens (Bleak House; The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Recommended for Anglophiles, period mystery enthusiasts, and anyone interested

Kirkus Reviews
Scotland Yard inspector Walter Day, first introduced in Grecian's The Yard (2012), returns to help solve a murder or two in the Black Country of the Midlands. The landscape is grimy, muddy and slag-strewn--in other words, a perfect climate for murder--but other mysterious goings-on also haunt the village of Blackhampton, especially a plaguelike illness affecting hundreds of townspeople. Day had originally been called in from London along with his assistant, Nevil Hammersmith, to investigate the disappearance of a couple, Sutton and Hester Price, and their young son, Oliver. The Prices leave three more children behind--Peter, Anna and Virginia--all of them precocious and creepy. It turns out one of the missing Prices and the community disease are related when Day discovers Oliver's body at the bottom of a well from which folks have been drawing their drinking water. Almost immediately after Day removes the body, Sutton returns, reclaiming the three remaining children. Throughout the elaboration of these mysteries, other puzzles emerge, like the appearance in Blackhampton of Campbell, a giant of a man whose cover is that he's a bird-watcher. We also meet, somewhat elliptically, a menacing figure called simply The American, whose face had been horribly mutilated by Campbell at Andersonville Prison in 1865; 25 years later, he's still seeking revenge. And Campbell, it turns out, had been enamored years earlier with Hester Price, so Sutton Price's sudden reappearance leads to fighting that emerges from jealousy. Grecian packs in almost more plot than a body can stand, but he presents with fine precision the gray and gritty atmosphere of late-Victorian England.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611761726
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/21/2013
  • Series: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series , #2
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 1,382,163
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 5.62 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Black Is Black, I Want My Baby Back

    An interesting story set in 1890's England detailing the adventures of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad. This case is centered around the Black Country, the center of coal production in the Midlands of England far from the crowded streets of London. Inspector Walter Day and his squad have been asked to help find three missing & presumed dead members of a coal mining family. A small child has gone missing along with his father and step mother. Three other small children of the same family have been left to shift for themselves. In a late season blizzard that is blanketing the countryside, there are more mysteries to solve than just the missing family members. What is the strange sickness that has gripped over half of the villagers? Who is the mysterious stranger built like a brick wall and just as talkative? Why don't the villagers seem to be overly concerned with the families disappearance? I enjoyed the atmosphere and the plot. I was a little disappointed that some of the answers to the mysteries were telegraphed early in the story. The story would have been more entertaining if the suspense could have been maintained longer. Book provided for review by the well read folks at Library Thing and Putnam.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2013

    An interesting tale, but completely contrived from beginning to

    An interesting tale, but completely contrived from beginning to end.  Nothing like The Yard--found very little connection to the two tales, except for the names of a few characters.  Still a reasonably good read, but missed the expectations I had from reading The Yard.   

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Not sure why I stayed with this book to the end? Nothing like t

    Not sure why I stayed with this book to the end? Nothing like the cover implies. The two investigators from Scotland Yard were next to useless in solving the case. At the end it solved itself through confessions and pure luck. Too much of the story was about this coal mine town and the sinking homes, gray skies and constant snow storm. Silly conversations with children and detectives dominated the story. Why a flashback to the US Civil War was necessary, I'll never understand? Save your hard earned money people, and go buy something else.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    I was very impressed with "The Yard" but found "B

    I was very impressed with "The Yard" but found "Black Country" disappointing; not at all similar. The characters Inspector Day and Sgt. Hammersmith were poorly developed and not at all like the innovators found in the "The Yard". In fact, there was little original detective work or anything relating to deductive reasoning. They seemed to be always at the mercy of events and had little impact on solving the case. This book was NOT a Sherlock Holmes derivative but a poorly constructed recording of natural events that had little to do with detective work.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A fantastic follow-up to The Yard; a spellbinding story full of

    A fantastic follow-up to The Yard; a spellbinding story full of intrigue and interesting characters.
    A town full of people, many who seem to have their own agenda, is it to protect the missing family or to hamper the detectives in their investigation? Are the 3 remaining children from the missing family keeping a secret of their own, or are they trying to protect their missing family members? Will the town still be standing if and when the family is found?
    So many things going on but all carefully intertwined to produce a thrilling read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2014

    A bit disjointed

    I enjoyed the first book in this series. This one was a bit disjointed. The story line seemed a mishmash of several story lines and did not seem, to me, to resolve themselves to my satisfaction by the end of the story. However, I look forward to book #3 in this series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2014

    I liked this book although it wasn't as good a The Yard. Some g

    I liked this book although it wasn't as good a The Yard. Some gore but the language did not offend. I agree that the inclusion of the Civil War aspect was unnecessary to the story.
    I will buy the next book by this author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2014

    Good mystery with a novel setting.

    Using collapsing coal mines as a backdrop for a series of murders
    Is a unique and interesting idea.
    I enjoyed the first novel in this collection and this second one was
    as good or better. Looking forward to number three.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    .

    .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    Cat

    You here

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Zarek

    "Im about to fall alseep so you soon i love you!"

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2014

    This is the second book about the beginnings of Scotland Yard's

    This is the second book about the beginnings of Scotland Yard's Detective Squad,  Inspector Day, Sergeant Hammersmith, and forensics Dr. Kingsley have been sent to a British Midland's mining town in 1890, to find a husband, his second wife and their young son.  The three young children of the missing man's first wife and somewhat reluctant to help in the investigation.  This mining town is slowly sinking into the numerous tunnels below it.  The town's folks are stepped in tradition, rumors and superstitions and are also in the middle of a sickness that has been contacted by a majority of the towns folks. 




    Atmosphere and superstition drive this mystery, along with an interesting connection to the happenings in the USA. The fate of the missing people is precariously connected to the fate of the town.  The Detectives need to hurry and solve their case before they are figuratively and literally drawn into this town forever.




    The history and atmosphere of this story was excellent, but I found it less enjoyable than the first book--THE YARD-- because so much of what happened was driven by natural happenings rather than detecting.  There was a sense of morbidity about this story that was very depressing.  The characters continued to evoke a sense of learning from their experiences though, and I have hopes that the mental detecting aspects of a The a Yard will return more fully in succeeding books.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    I found this book to be very tedious.  I almost didn't finish it

    I found this book to be very tedious.  I almost didn't finish it but kept hoping that it would improve. It did not. 
    I am somewhat surprised that anyone gave it a 5 star rating but each to his own. I got the distinct feeling
    that the author didn't have the plot firmed up in his mind before writing and so made it up as he went along 
    and not very well at that.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Fun run!

    A fun fast read.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    Highly recommended!

    I picked up the first in this series, The Yard, off a table at B&N marked "Must Read for 2013." It was riveting from page one, and I immediately ordered the next in the series. It was such a quick, riveting read, in part because all of the character backgrounds have been established in the first installment. I have already pre-ordered the third in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Wish I had more

    I wish I had More in this series to read... I absolutely love this series and these characters. A must read for anyone who loves amazing historical mysteries

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Great mystery

    I love this writer as his books take you to new place and experience.

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    save your money

    After reading Mr. Grecian's debut novel "The Yard" I was thoroughly disappointed.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    completely different

    than the Yard but just as good. This book can stand alone but read them in order if you can. A really good mystery doesn't come along often enough. Do yourself a favor and do not pass this one up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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