The Yard (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series #1)

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Overview

1889, LONDON.
JACK THE RIPPER’S REIGN OF TERROR IN FINALLY OVER, BUT A NEW ONE IS JUST BEGINNING.

Victorian London—a violent cesspool of squalid depravity. Only twelve detectives—The Murder Squad—are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed here each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capturing Jack the Ripper, the Murder Squad suffers the brunt of public contempt. ...

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The Yard (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series #1)

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Overview

1889, LONDON.
JACK THE RIPPER’S REIGN OF TERROR IN FINALLY OVER, BUT A NEW ONE IS JUST BEGINNING.

Victorian London—a violent cesspool of squalid depravity. Only twelve detectives—The Murder Squad—are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed here each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capturing Jack the Ripper, the Murder Squad suffers the brunt of public contempt. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…

A Scotland Yard Inspector has been found stuffed in a black steamer trunk at Euston Square Station, his eyes and mouth sewn shut. When Walter Day, the squad’s new hire, is assigned to the case, he finds a strange ally in Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist. Their grim conclusion: this was not just a random, bizarre murder but in all probability, the first of twelve. Because the squad itself it being targeted and the devious killer shows no signs of stopping before completing his grim duty. But Inspector Day has one more surprise, something even more shocking than the crimes: the killer’s motive.

Alex Grecian on The Yard

When writing fiction, I prefer to start with a foundation of fact. The Yard is fiction. A historical thriller. It's a construct of my imagination, but it's built on a solid slab of fact. The history of Scotland Yard and its famous Murder Squad is filled with real-life detectives and cases that might have been lifted whole from some suspense novel. My characters Walter Day, Dr. Bernard Kingsley, and Sir Edward Bradford? All based on real people. Remarkable people.

Walter Dew was one of those remarkable people. He joined London Metropolitan Police when he was nineteen years old. He rose through the ranks quickly, becoming a detective in just five years, and he had a hand in solving some of the most famous cases in Scotland Yard's history.

Most notable was the case of Dr. Hawley Crippen. In 1910, Dr. Crippen murdered his wife and fled to Canada with his young mistress. Hot on Crippen's trail, Chief Inspector Dew booked passage on a White Star liner that was considerably faster than the ship Dr. Crippen had taken. Dew passed Crippen in mid-ocean, and landed in Canada a day ahead of the slower-moving ship. He was waiting on the docks when Crippen arrived, and he placed the doctor under arrest. The race to capture Crippen was front-page news and made Inspector Dew an international celebrity.

Dew was helped on the Crippen case by Dr. Bernard Spilsbury. The first forensic scientist employed by Scotland Yard, Spilsbury was the man who put into place many of the crime-scene procedures we take for granted today. He examined a cache of human remains found in Crippen's basement and identified the victim from a scar found on a torn scrap of skin that was buried under a pile of bricks.

In another case, Spilsbury examined and identified the remains of a dismembered woman found inside a trunk at a railway depot. He was instrumental in finding the perpetrator, the infamous Brighton Trunk Murderer.

Those facts were a starting point for me. In The Yard, Walter Dew was renamed Walter Day, Dr. Spilsbury became Dr. Kingsley, and the dead body in the trunk is now that of a Scotland Yard detective.

But it wasn't just Dew and Spilsbury who crossed over from reality to fiction. Other real-life criminologists found their way into my Yard. The legendary Inspector Dick Tanner makes an appearance as Inspector Adrian March. Sir Edward Bradford wasn't made commissioner of police until 1891, two years after the action in The Yard takes place. He survived being mauled by a tiger in India and refused anesthesia while his arm was being amputated. He returned to England, but the ship he was on wrecked and he lost everything he owned. Bradford was knighted by Queen Victoria and took over Scotland Yard, where he initiated sweeping changes that made it one of the most respected police units in the world. I couldn't bear to change his name, but in The Yard I gave him a full beard that he never had in real life.

There's a thin line between fact and fiction. I like to blur it.

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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
…deliciously trashy…Grecian has a talent for capturing gory details…Bounding from the workhouse to the lunatic asylum to the stinking streets, he does outstanding descriptive work on the mad and the maimed, the diseased and the demented…If Charles Dickens isn't somewhere clapping his hands for this one, Wilkie Collins surely is.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
To hunt for anachronisms in historical fiction is a churlish hobby, but there’s a telling one in Alex Grecian’s affable first novel, a Victorian thriller. A detective describing his sense of responsibility to the families of murder victims employs a 1990s buzzword that it’s exceedingly unlikely would have entered the mind, much less the mouth, of a man in 1889: “closure.” The Yard has a great many virtues, including a Dickensian profusion of memorable minor characters, but this misstep lays bare its most serious flaw. Its heroes get shallower, not deeper, until by the book’s conclusion they seem like moralizing contemporary stick figures, freed from the complexity of their time. What feels like a third of the novel is devoted to their good deeds and subsequent mutual congratulation. In this mist of bonhomous closure, the suspense of a thriller fades. At the start, police in Euston Station discover a trunk stuffed with the corpse of a Scotland Yard inspector. In the course of a few mostly sleepless days, three men—Walter Day, a newly promoted member of the Yard’s “Murder Squad”; Nevil Hammersmith, a shrewd street officer; and Bernard Kingsley, an eccentric physician with an interest in the emerging science of forensics—circle a net around the murderer. The Yard also pays welcome stylistic homage to the rambling Victorian triple-decker, with plots and characters spiraling out in every direction from its initial crime scene. Among others there are a pair of prostitutes haunted by memories of Jack the Ripper, a new police commissioner, an amiably violent thief named Blackleg—and, in absorbing occasional glimpses, the murderer, a madman trying to recreate his lost family. It’s this sense of madness that is the book’s greatest strength. Grecian places the action of his story directly in the shadow of the Ripper murders, and sketches, intriguingly, how those crimes have forced the police to accept that murder can have darkly psychological motives. Grecian has a fine, flexible, curious voice, and The Yard looks as if it could be the start of a promising series; indeed, the enterprising Blackleg on his own could profitably drive a sequel, and the rise of forensics is a fascinating subject. And then, Grecian’s error is a common one. Even great authors working in the genre, such as David Mitchell and Patrick O’Brian, have given their characters an unrealistically modern broadness of mind. After all, the past is a brutish place, and what a real Walter Day would have believed in his heart—about sex, class, race—would likely alienate us immediately. The solution most writers have found, alas, is perhaps the most serious deficiency historical fiction has: a palliating dishonesty about what went on in the heads of people in other times. To his credit, Grecian lends great realism to his secondary characters; he may just be too fond of his primary ones to permit them their true context. Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company. (June) Charles Finch is the author of A Death in the Small Hours, which Minotaur will publish in November.
Marilyn Stasio
If Charles Dickens isn't somewhere clapping his hands for this one, Wilkie Collins surely is.
—New York Times
Library Journal
After its failure to capture Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard creates the Murder Squad. When one of the squad members is killed, the newly hired Walter Day teams with the Yard's first forensic pathologist to track down the killer. A new series but not a neophyte author; Grecian is responsible for long-running graphic novel series Proof. I'm intrigued.
Kirkus Reviews
It's 1889, the year after Jack the Ripper terrorized the East End, but London is still awash with murders--96 bodies have been retrieved from the Thames in one month, most with their throats slit--and the detectives of Scotland Yard demonstrate their usual mixture of savvy and incompetence. The first victim the Yard has to contend with is Christian Little, whose mutilated body is found inside a trunk at Euston Square Station, a murder not just horrifying, but also embarrassing because Little is a detective inspector at Scotland Yard. Put in charge of the case is Walter Day, recently brought in from Devon and hence innocent of the previous year's failures. In fact, the Yard's new Murder Squad, an elite group of detectives of which Little had been a member, had been assembled in response to the failure of the Metropolitan Police to catch "Saucy Jack." Assisting Day is Dr. Bernard Kingsley, a surgeon at University College Hospital and incipient forensic pathologist. Heading the Murder Squad is Col. Sir Edward Bradford, a gruff no-nonsense administrator with good instincts about the competence of police officers. Grecian creates a large and eccentric cast of characters, including a detective inspector who can't stop making jokes (usually bad puns), a mentally disturbed dancing man, a brutal tailor (whose telltale shears are used in untoward ways), the seductive wife of a doctor, and two coldblooded prostitutes, now perpetrators of crime rather than victims. But the murderer keeps making fools of the Murder Squad by bumping off more detectives. Although the whodunit aspect of the novel is a bit weak, Grecian successfully re-creates the dark atmosphere of late Victorian London.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425261279
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Series: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series , #1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 63,951
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex Grecian

Alex Grecian is the author of the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son, The Yard is his first novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

LONDON, 1889.

Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found. A black steamer trunk appeared at Euston Square Station some

time during the night and remained unnoticed until early afternoon of the following day. The porter discovered it after the one o’clock train had departed, and he opened the trunk when it proved too heavy for him to lift.

He immediately sent a boy to find the police.

Detective Inspector Walter Day was first at the scene, and he directed the many bobbies who arrived after him. He had come to London only the week before. This was his first crime scene and he was clearly nervous, but the blue-uniformed bobbies knew their job well and did not require much from him. They pushed back the commuters who had gathered round the trunk and began to scour the station for possible weapons and other clues.

An hour later, Dr Bernard Kingsley entered the station all in a rush and headed for the knot of people gathered on the gallery of the booking office. The trunk had been left against the railing overlooking the platform. Kingsley brushed past Inspector Day and knelt on the floor.

He opened his satchel and drew out a cloth tape measure, snaked it between his fingers, moving it up and across. The trunk was a standard size, two by three by three, glossy black with tin rivets along the seams. He closed the lid and brushed a finger across the top. It was clean; no dust.

With his magnifying glass in hand, he scuttled around the trunk, scru

tinizing the corners for wear. He licked his finger and rubbed a seam along one side where black paint had been applied to cover a crack. He was aware of Day hovering over his shoulder and, less intrusive, the bobbies at the sta

tion’s entrance pushing back fresh onlookers who had arrived from the street outside. The lower classes were always out for a spectacle, while the better-off walked briskly past, ignoring the to-do.

His preliminary examination out of the way, Kingsley opened and shut the trunk’s lid several times, listening to the hinges, then eased it back until the edge of the lid rested against the floor. He peered into the trunk for a long moment, ignoring the sickly sweet odor of death. The body inside was folded in on itself, knotted and mashed into the too-small space like so much laundry. One shoe was missing, and Kingsley presumed it was some

where at the bottom of the trunk, under the body. The man’s suit was gabardine, the hems lightly worn, dirt pressed into the creases. His arms and legs were broken and wrapped around one another.

Kingsley took a pair of tongs from his satchel and used them to move an arm out of the way so he could see the man’s face. The skin was pearl grey and the eyes and mouth were sewn shut with heavy thread, the pattern of parallel stitches like train tracks across the man’s lips. Kingsley looked up at Day. When he spoke, his voice was low and measured.

“Have you identified him yet?”

Day shook his head no.

“It’s one of you,” Kingsley said.

“One of me?”

“The body is that of a detective. This is Inspector Little.”

Day backed away to the railing and held up his hands, warding off the unpleasant thought.

“It can’t be. I spoke with Little just last evening.”

Kingsley shrugged.

“It’s not that I doubt you,” Day said. “But Inspector Little . . .”

“Come and see for yourself,” Kingsley said.

Day stared at him.

“I said come here. Please.”

“Of course.”

Day approached the trunk and swallowed hard before looking down.

“Breathe through your mouth, Mr Day. The odor isn’t pleasant.”

Day nodded, panting heavily.

“I suppose it is Mr Little. But what have they done to him?”

“You can see what’s been done. The question is why has it been done?”

“It’s inhuman.”

“I’m afraid it’s all too human.”

“Cut those off him. Get that off his face. We can’t have a detective of the Yard trussed up like a . . . like a Christmas goose, for God’s sake.”

One of the uniformed constables standing at the rail looked up. The station was full of citizens who didn’t care about the dead detective in the trunk just so long as they got a chance to see him. Day recognized the ter

ror in the constable’s eyes and could see that he had no idea why he was doing this dangerous job for little money and no respect. In that single mo

ment, in the expression he saw in the other man’s eyes, Day understood that London needed her police, but did not care about them. And he saw, too, that this newfound discovery was something that every policeman on that platform already understood.

The morale of the Metropolitan Police Force had reached its lowest point during the Ripper murders of the previous year and had not yet re

covered. The files of the Whitechapel murders had not been closed as the case was still ongoing, but nobody in London trusted the police to do their job. Jack had escaped and the detectives of the Yard had never even come close to finding him. The unsolved case was a harsh reminder of their fal

libility, and it hung over their heads every morning when they walked through the door of the back hall. The Ripper was still out there some

where, and it was likely he’d remain out there.

Kingsley stood and put a hand on Day’s shoulder. When he spoke, his voice was barely audible.

“I will most assuredly make Inspector Little presentable again. There will be a time and a place to mourn him. Here and now, you must fix your mind on justice. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Little’s killer is watching us, and your demeanor may set the course for the investigation to come. You must appear to be strong and rational.”

Day nodded.

“To work, then,” Kingsley said.

He grabbed a handle and lifted one end of the trunk, grunted, and set it back down.

“Inspector Day,” he said, “you look like an able fellow. Lift this end, would you?”

“Where shall I put it?”

“Not the entirety of the trunk, just pull upward on the handle and get this thing off the ground a bit, would you?”

Kingsley removed his hat and set it on a bench along the far wall of the gallery. He draped his coat over the arm of the bench and strode back to where Day had an end of the trunk lifted off the ground. The two men were a study in contrasts. Dr Kingsley was short and thin with sharply chiseled features and wild, prematurely grey hair that matched his eyes. Inspector Day was tall and built like an ox through the chest and shoulders. His short dark hair was combed back from his wide forehead, and his expression was permanently helpful, as if he were in search of an old lady he might escort across the street. He displayed the easy physical confidence that some big men had, but his features were fine and sensitive and his eyes were sad. Kingsley found it impossible to dislike the young detective.

“Higher, would you?” Kingsley said. “That’s better.”

He got down on his hands and knees and crawled under the end of the trunk, Day straining above him. It didn’t occur to him that Day might drop the trunk on his head. Men like Day used their brains to move their mus

cles about. Their muscles were useful enough.

Kingsley inspected the planks of the platform floor, peering into crevices in the ancient wood, worn smooth by the shoes of countless travelers.

“Aha!” he said. He scrambled backward until his head was clear of the bottom of the trunk and stood up, using one hand to smooth his waistcoat over his stomach. The thumb and index finger of his other hand were pinched together, and he held them up to the light.

Day squinted.

“It’s a hair,” he said.

“No, lad. It’s a thread. This end is frayed a bit where it’s been cut. Here, you see?”

“The same thread used to sew his mouth and eyes?”

“Different color. That was black. This is dark blue. It could be a coinci

dence, someone lost a thread from her coat, perhaps, but I don’t think so. I think your killer came prepared with at least two colors of thread. And why would that be?”

He abruptly dropped to the ground and began to crawl around the plat

form, his magnifying glass playing over the surface, his long fingers poking into the corners where the wall joined the planks of the floor. After several long minutes in which the onlookers behind the railing began to grow rest

less, Kingsley murmured an exclamation and held his finger up to the light. A drop of blood formed on his fingertip, and Kingsley smiled. He sucked the blood from his finger and turned his magnifying glass around, using the blunt handle to scrape dirt away from the wall.

He stood and trotted back to where Day was still holding up an end of the trunk. Kingsley held out his hand, displaying his find for Day to see.

“Needles,” Day said.

Kingsley grinned. “Three needles, Inspector Day. Three, where one might do. I’d say our killer’s made a telling mistake. Give me your hand

kerchief.”

“Is it in my breast pocket?”

“I don’t see one there.”

“I may have come out without it today.”

Kingsley nodded and turned to the nearest constable.

“You there, have you a handkerchief ?”

A tall, lanky constable looked up from the side of the platform where he seemed to be scanning the crowd. His eyes were bright and intelligent and nearly hidden behind long feminine lashes. He jumped slightly at the sound of Kingsley’s voice.

“What’s your name?” Kingsley said.

“Hammersmith, sir.”

“You sound Welsh, sir.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You’re watching the crowd?”

“What the detective said, about it being another detective in the box, it surprised people.”

“You were looking to see who among that crowd wasn’t surprised. Who might have already known there was a detective in the trunk.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And?”

“I didn’t see anything unexpected.”

Kingsley nodded. “Still,” he said, “it was a worthy idea. How long have you been with the force?”

“Two years, sir.”

“I’m surprised I haven’t made your acquaintance before this. I shall watch your career with interest. Now, I wonder if I might borrow your handkerchief?”

“Of course, sir.”

“Thank you, Mr Hammersmith.”

Kingsley took the offered kerchief and glanced at it. He looked up at the constable.

“This is not particularly clean.”

“I apologize, sir. I’ve been at it now for two shifts and haven’t had a chance to launder anything.”

Indeed, Hammersmith looked sloppy. His blue uniform was wrinkled, his shirt was untucked on one side, and the cuffs of his trousers were muddy. There was a hangdog air about him, but in his body language and bearing he somehow gave the impression of utter competence.

“Yes, well, thank you, Hammersmith. I shall return this as soon as I possibly can.”

“Of course, sir.”

Kingsley wrapped the needles in the soiled square of cloth. He tucked the handkerchief and the short piece of blue thread into his vest pocket to be examined later.

“This one is a challenge. A real challenge.”

Kingsley smiled and scanned the platform one last time, barely taking in the crowd of onlookers.

“Wonderful,” he said. “Simply wonderful. You can let that down now.”

Day eased the end of the heavy trunk back to the platform floor and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Have two of the men bring that round to the college,” Kingsley said. “I’ll want to examine Little’s body, but I’m not going to do it here. Have the rest of these bobbies search the platform carefully for a man’s left shoe. I suspect it’s in the trunk, but there’s no harm in putting them to work.”

Kingsley shrugged back into his coat, picked up his hat, and walked away. Halfway to the far edge of the platform, he turned and walked back to where Day still stood. He leaned in and whispered so the onlookers wouldn’t overhear. “Shut the lid on that trunk,” he said. “We don’t want that rabble ogling a dead detective.”

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Interviews & Essays

Alex Grecian, author of THE YARD, on his Research.


The London County Council was formed in 1889 and promptly went about renaming many of the streets in Inner London. They did it again four decades later, which means that current maps don't accurately reflect the London of 1889, the year The Yard takes place. The lay of the land has changed at least twice since then.
But I didn't know that when I sat down to write The Yard. I knew where Scotland Yard was and I knew where Inspector Day lived, and that was enough to start writing the first draft. So when the good inspector walked home late at night, he was walking up the wrong street.

I love research. It's not just preparation for me, it's an ongoing part of the writing process. I tend to read as much about a place and time as possible before getting to work on a story, though too much research early on can bog me down.

I won't know what I need to know until I need to know it. For instance, I didn't plan a scene in which Claire Day ironed her husband's trousers. (Why would I plan that?) But the need to iron Inspector Day's pants cropped up and I discovered that I had to know how an iron worked in 1889 and, if at all possible, actually use one. It wasn't a vital detail, not the sort of thing to make an American writer jet over to England on the spur of the moment. So I did the next best thing. I visited Pennsylvania. There are several museums in Pennsylvania that have seemingly preserved everything anybody's ever used, and they've kept it all clean and in working order. So I was able to see and touch an iron, and a vintage toaster, and many of the other mundane household items I needed to know about.

Of course, nothing in Pennsylvania could help me with those London street names. I eventually tracked down an enormous vintage map of Victorian London. It's framed in sections on one wall of my office, so I'll never get the streets wrong again.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 182 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 182 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Any notion of Victorian England as a place of sweetness and ligh

    Any notion of Victorian England as a place of sweetness and light will be quickly disspelled by Alex Grecian's new book, whose grim descriptions of 19th-century London are more Dickens than Austin. Most of the city is filthy. Life is cheap among the masses of the poor. Cutthroats mingle with pickpockets, prostitutes, and thieves. The dead are thrown into charnel houses. The indigent and mentally ill are warehoused under appalling conditions. And lower-class children have no rights or protection - they are used and abused, disappear daily, are tossed like trash when they've served their purpose.

    An understaffed police force struggles under a staggering case load - they can barely get to the routine crimes, much less solve the murders that constantly occur. And they are in disgrace with the public after no success in finding Jack the Ripper. Forensics at this time are primitive, to put it kindly.

    The author adroitly handles several plot lines: a new killer is targeting police officers; a child has been kidnapped and forced by his unstable new "father" to replace a lost son; full-bearded men have their throats slit and are found clean-shaven.

    The officers who will undoubtedly be the lead characters in subsequent books in the series are often flawed, but always sympathetic. One is a newlywed who sometimes longs for the clear air of his home in Devon. Another is a scrapper who fought to leave the mines where he worked as a child. A forward-thinking medical examiner adds interest, especially when he begins experimenting with an early form of fingerprinting.

    Surprisingly, in all this grubby reality are some unexpected flashes of humor. I actually found myself laughing out loud at the welcome comic relief. However, these moments are few and far between, and the reader is soon immersed once again in the scary, overcrowded London of the 1800s. I look forward to the next in this fine series.

    30 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 18, 2012

    I can't wait to read more novels by Alex Grecian!!! I could not

    I can't wait to read more novels by Alex Grecian!!! I could not put this book down. I truly loved the characters. The book had a bit of historical accuracy thrown in, specifically the advent of fingerprint comparison, and Henry Faulds. I am a Crime Scene Investigtor and Fingerprint examiner and enjoyed that Grecian chose to add these types of details into his novel. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone!!

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great debut!

    The Yard is Alex Grecian's debut novel. And this reader has put him firmly on her 'must read' list.

    London, England 1889 -the year after Jack's infamous rampage. After the Metropolitan Police failed to solve that case, a 'Murder Squad' was formed within Scotland Yard. It consists of only twelve detectives who cannot begin to solve each and every one of the hundred murders being perpetrated each month. It is Inspector Walter Day's first week on the job when one of their own is found murdered in a particularly grisly manner. Determined to prove himself and seek justice for his fallen comrade, Day dives into the case with both feet."

    "The new inspector, Day, appeared to be up to the job, but Kett knew little about the man. There was an innocence about him that bothered Kett. He had seen idealistic men come and go, the city leeching hope from them too quickly."

    I was hooked from the opening line...."Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found."

    This is a time period I absolutely love and Grecian does a good job bringing the setting to life with lots of atmospheric detail. The plot is multi faceted with more than just the primary case being investigated. Although we know the identity of the perpetrator about halfway through, it didn't detract from the story at all.

    But it was the characters that were a stand out for me. Grecian has fleshed them out nicely, providing 'interludes' where we learn some of their past. Day is a very likable character, struggling with being in the 'big city'. I quite enjoyed his wife Claire and see her playing a bigger part in the future. Constable Hammersmith is also a character I was drawn to. He's a little more down and dirty than Day, willing to bend the law a wee bit in the name of justice. But the most engrossing was Dr. Bernard Kingsley. He works an unpaid consultant to the Yard, firmly believing that the science he is pursuing will change the face of policing in the future. It was great fun to see the advent of forensics in fingerprinting and evidence collecting. Kingsley is a bit of an enigma as is his daughter Fiona.

    Grecian has gathered an eclectic, fascinating group of characters, set them down in an intriguing time and place and tied it all together with an ingenious plot. I truly hope this is the beginning of a series - I quite enjoyed The Yard and will definitely pick up the next book by this author.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2012

    When I review a book I don't go into all the details of plot sum

    When I review a book I don't go into all the details of plot summary. People can read the above overview to get those details. What I do like to do is give a few reasons as to why I liked or didn't like the book. Having said that, this was an absolute marvel of a debut novel. If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly those set in Victorian London, then you'll enjoy The Yard. (It's right up there with The Alienist by Caleb Carr; if you haven't read that one you should.) The historical details and aspects were spot on. Made me feel as if I were walking the foggy streets of Victorian London. The characters, both the protagonists and antagonists, were both intriguing and interesting. Also, I liked the fact that the reader knew who the killer(s) was pretty early on in the book, but you still didn't know how the police were going to apprehend the killer(s). That is where the reader is treated to a marvelous display of police procedures & detective work at its best. Why didn't I rate it 5 stars? I only reserve that rating for the absolute best, and this one fell just a little short of that rare rating. Buy it, read it and enjoy!

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    Roleplayers

    Bn, can you please do something with these kids that use the nook as a game room for these silly cat games? 2/3sof the posts on here dont even relate to the book and should be removed and the posters banned from posting. Thhese kids need to learn that the nook review section is fir leaving reviees about the book in question, not to play cat games, chat or play sex games.

    11 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Great book!

    I really enjoyed reading this book. Can't wait for books 2 & 3. Keep up the good work Alex! Leslie White

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    Fantastic!

    This was an incredibly suspenseful book and I had a difficult time setting it down once I began reading. The characters are rich and enjoyable to read. I really liked how the author was able to weave different narratives together in a way that kept the tension up and didn't leave me confused. If you are a fan of murder mysteries you must read this!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    What the hell

    Why are there so many weirdos on here and whst the hell are you talking about? Can people please just review the damn book

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Wonderful book. I can't wait for the next one in the series. I

    Wonderful book. I can't wait for the next one in the series. I have read enough books that "sugar coat" real life and I am tired of them. Grecian relates more historically acurate details which I appreciated. This is a great timeline to show how far we have come in the methods of solving crimes and I was so intrigued that I read the book in three days. Keep up the good work.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    What a good book!!!! I didn't realize that this was the author'

    What a good book!!!! I didn't realize that this was the author's first novel because it is written so well. I could see and know all the characters in my mind's eye. So many interesting stories going on all at once and a great way to see London in the Victorian days. I had no idea how dirty and dangerous London was and how poorly children were allowed to be treated. I hope that Mr. Grecian continues to write about Scotland Yard - or anything for that matter! Great first novel - I couldn't put it down!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    Cat people, go home

    B&N needs to delete the garbage posts. How hard is that?

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Pardon me for a moment, I am recovering from a massive bookgasm.

    Pardon me for a moment, I am recovering from a massive bookgasm. What was the cause of this bookgasm? Alex Grecian’s The Yard. Now you may be saying “Is it THAT good?” No…..it is better than that.
    The Yard tells the story of the murder squad formed at Scotland Yard during the time of Jack The Ripper. Okay, you had my attention at Jack The Ripper, you cemented it with the Victorian setting. (Ever since I discovered “Sherlock Holmes” when I was ten years old, I have been a sucker for anything set during this time period).
    The scary part of this book is not the murders committed, and there are several and they are gruesome. No, the scary part is the detail in the book. I could smell the streets and taste the grit in the air. It is so well researched that even the tiniest detail is not overlooked, but make no mistake, it is not boring.
    Please, come meet Hammersmith, Day, Blacker, Sir Edward, Blackleg, Fenn, Kingsley, Pringle, the Mayhew Brothers and more. They will become a part of you, and you will want to jump into the next book.
    Quite simply, this is the BEST book I have read this year. It is the kind of book that you want to see made into a series. Not a movie, but a television series so it lasts longer.
    Please Mr. Grecian, give us more!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Dreadful, full of ridiculous anachronisms and 21st century buzz

    Dreadful, full of ridiculous anachronisms and 21st century buzz words.
    Even worse are the jarring Americanisms in a story supposedly set in
    Victorian London. Even now, when movies and television expose us to
    other cultures and languages and linguistic borders are more fluid,
    there are no brownstones or stoops in London, they're called terraces
    and front steps. Victorian ladies did not invite complete strangers to
    address them by their first names either. The characters are two
    dimensional at best, and I only finished the book to see if it had any
    redeeming features at all. It doesn't.

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Great read

    Fascinating look at the beginnings of modern crime investigation. Believeable characters. Well written. A must read for anyone who enjoys murder mysteries.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    80 reviews flagged as off topic

    Eighty reviews off topic.
    Kilndle has this problem under control. I never have to sift thru so much crape. I wish this didn't happen on nook.

    I did purchase and will review at a later date.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2012

    It was okay, but I doubt that I'll read any more from this autho

    It was okay, but I doubt that I'll read any more from this author. The anachronisms bothered me, and I figured out who the killer was fairly early on.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2012

    Enjoyable read. The plot thickens, and thickens. The character

    Enjoyable read. The plot thickens, and thickens. The characters are imaginably real, and likable--even the bad guys. Well written--for the enjoyment of the readers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2012

    Excellent

    See above well paced.very well written story.hope to see
    more from this up and comer. Give The Yard a shot you
    Won't regret it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2012

    This authors debut novel is a home run for him.I am a sucker for

    This authors debut novel is a home run for him.I am a sucker for all things of Victorian England if they are realistic and believe me this book was authentic. The characters were well developed,each one had a different history. The police squad is led by Sir Edward Bradford and Detective Inspector Walter Day with help from Mr. Hammersmith and Inspector Blacker along with eight other constables, this squad is called the Murder Squad.Inspector Day's first case is the murder of Inspector Little and during the investigation another constable is killed with four other men. The murders are thought to be the work of the same man but with the help of Dr.Bernard Kingsley they find that may not be the case. The storyline is fast moving and riveting, I did not want to put it down. I can not wait for this authors next book. Bravo!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    Thrilling!

    Great in detail, and mystery - a must read for anyone who's searching for a page-turner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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