[Review] Murder in Piccadilly written by Charles Kingston

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Title: Murder in Piccadilly
Author: Charles Kingston
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Date of Publication: 15 Jan 2015
Number of Pages: 320

Rating: 2 out of 5 DNF @ 46%

Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Summary: ‘Scores of men and women died daily in London, but on this day of days one of them had died in the very midst of a crowd and the cause of his death was a dagger piercing his heart. Death had become something very real.’ When Bobbie Cheldon falls in love with a pretty young dancer at the Frozen Fang night club in Soho, he has every hope of an idyllic marriage. But Nancy has more worldly ideas about her future: she is attracted not so much to Bobbie as to the fortune he expects to inherit. Bobbie’s miserly uncle Massy stands between him and happiness: he will not relinquish the ten thousand a year on which Nancy’s hopes rest. When Bobbie falls under the sway of the roguish Nosey Ruslin, the stage is set for murder in the heart of Piccadilly – and for Nancy’s dreams to be realised. When Chief Inspector Wake of Scotland Yard enters the scene, he uncovers a tangled web of love affairs, a cynical Soho underworld, and a motive for murder.

Review: Charles Kingston wrote twenty novels between the years of the two World Wars, all set in London and all of which, have been unavailable for decades. Murder in Piccadilly was first published in 1930 and describes what some reviewers call a cynical view of money leading to murder.

The current rating for this book on Goodreads is 2.88 and this was my first warning that there was going to be a problem with Murder in Piccadilly. I have mentioned on a previous review that I don’t read any book with less than a 3 star rating, however, because I was provided with an advanced reader copy I felt duty bound to read it. I think I may have to be stricter in future.

I found Murder in Piccadilly hard work and boring and I decided not to finish reading it. The characters were hard to like or feel any compassion for and the prose was heavy and slow. Some reviews mention that the pace of the story increases once you’re over halfway but this is never enough to save any work.

What I find myself wondering is why the British Library selected this novel to republish. Surely there are better works in the genre they could have chosen.

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