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

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

by Alex Grecian


$15.85 $16.00 Save 1% Current price is $15.85, Original price is $16. You Save 1%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, June 19


The New York Times Book Review said of The Yard, “If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands…Wilkie Collins surely is.” Now Alex Grecian returns with his new novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad—and it’s a gripper.

The British Midlands. Inhabitants call it the “Black Country”—and with good reason. Bad things happen there.

When three members of a prominent family disappear from the Midlands—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad is called in. But Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith have stepped into something much more bizarre and complicated than expected.

Superstitions abound in the intertwined histories of the villagers, including a local legend about a monster some claim to have seen. In addition, a mysterious epidemic is killing off the inhabitants, and the village itself is sinking into the coal mines below. Day and Hammersmith soon realize that they, too, are in over their heads. And the more they investigate, the more they fear that they may never be allowed to leave.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425267738
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Series: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series , #2
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 220,239
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for The Black Country

“Ripe with gory details…[Grecian] has a flair.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Similar to Jean Zimmerman’s atmospheric psychological novel The Orphanmaster, and as shocking as David Morrell’s Murder as a Fine Art.”Booklist (starred review)

“Devilishly dark…It isn’t often that a mystery-thriller enthralls so completely…but as usual with Mr. Grecian, there is more to this tale than complex plotting…A displaced eye, a crumpled note, cryptic limericks and lost ribbons: like our detective heroes, we follow these trails into the white-blinding snow to its brilliant and unexpected conclusion. Whether you read the tale in the dark night of winter or the haze of a summer sun, be prepared for the chill. The days are dark in Black Country.”The Huffington Post

“Grecian creates an eerie atmosphere from start to finish, and without giving anything away, the killer here is creepy and unexpected.”—

“Startling and spooky . . . [a] bold melding of horror with historical elements.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Grecian] presents with fine precision the gray and gritty atmosphere of late-Victorian England.”—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Yard

“Grecian has a talent for capturing gory details…extremely vivid (and strangely moving)…[Grecian] 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

“[A] mix of historical facts and vivid fictional creations. It’s great fun…Grecian’s debut is the promising start of a new series and should be one of the most acclaimed and popular mysteries of the year.”—The Huffington Post

“Exuberantly grisly.”—The Guardian (U.K.)

“Grecian powerfully evokes both the physical, smog-ridden atmosphere of London in 1889 and its emotional analogs of anxiety and depression. His infusion of actual history adds to this thriller’s credibility and punch. A deeply satisfying reconstruction of post-Ripper London.”—Booklist

“A brilliantly crafted debut novel with unforgettable characters. An utterly gripping tale perfectly evokes Victorian London and brings you right back to the depraved and traumatic days of Jack the Ripper.”—Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files

“Lusciously rich with detail, atmosphere, and history, and yet as fast paced as a locomotive, The Yard will keep you riveted from page one. It’s truly a one- or two-sitting read.”—Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author

“Grecian successfully recreates the dark atmosphere of late Victorian London.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A winner, filled with Victorian arcana and eccentric characters and more humor than one expects from such a work.”—The Rap Sheet

“This excellent murder mystery debut introduces a fascinating cast of characters. Grecian displays a flair for language as well as creating vivid (and occasionally gruesome) depictions of places and events.”—Library Journal

“All the gruesome sights, sounds, and smells of a depraved Victorian London are vividly depicted…not for the squeamish. a gripping police procedural mystery and cracking good read. Recommended.”—Historical Novel Society

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Black Country 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
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.
Hoku1111 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The story line was filled with twists and turns, but was not confusing where the reader must turn back a few pages to re-read the past pages. The characters are all well developed such that the reader is able to relate to the internal thought process of each character. Moreover, the authors description of the places that the characters live and visit are rich and colorful. In turn, this allows the reader to enjoy the journey to the end of the book. I highly recommend this book.
bobsocean More than 1 year ago
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.
CrazyForNewBooks More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovin' this series! On to the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my second novel of the men of Scotland Yard and I enjoyed it immensely! The charactets are all fully developed and their motives are often not what you expect. The stories are realist and in this case, slightly odd with an unexpected setting! Well worth the money; don't miss this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PainFrame More than 1 year ago
Here now, what’s this then? This follow up to “The Yard” is entertaining enough, but it loses a little something by taking the casework out of London and into the countryside. I still found it to be of interest and I definitely felt for the poor sap detective who is under the weather in such a harsh environment. What I like about historical fiction is still present here, namely the things which don’t really have as much of an influence in the modern age; such as the lack of forensic science, superstitions which veil the truth and neat details like a city slowly sinking into the mines beneath it, or a villain who uses very cool, but highly conspicuous hexagonal bullets. A worthy follow up to the first one, which I loved. I look forward to the third which I hope will take us back to the captivating setting of nineteenth-century London. A good series so far, but start with the first one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story although good felt too wordy.
kilthosemk More than 1 year ago
Usually second books don't add up to the first. This book does. A great page turner you won't want to put down.
Ed_Ral More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
moldyworm12 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You here
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
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.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SherlockRK More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago