A DCI Frank Merlin Thriller – December 1941
A Death in Mayfair
A few weeks back I participated in the blog tour with Mark Ellis and Midas PR celebrating the recent publication of A Death in Mayfair with an extract, which you can read HERE.
Today I am delighted to bring you all my review of this ‘Hollywood-Noir’ style series that has really captured my imagination. This is old school. This is a good old fashioned read that entertains and plays out in black & white in your mind. Thoroughly enjoyable series!
Please read on for my thoughts…
[ About the Book ]
Japanese planes swoop down and attack Pearl Harbour. America enters the war and Britain no longer stands alone against Hitler. But conditions on the home front remain bleak, and for Scotland Yard detective Frank Merlin, life is as arduous as ever.
He is diverted from his tenacious campaign against London’s organised criminal gangs by the violent deaths of two young women in the centre of the city.
Merlin investigates and encounters fraudulent film moguls, dissipated movie stars, mad Satanists, and brutal gangsters amongst others as he and his team battle to uncover the connections and search out the truth.
[ My Review ]
A Death in Mayfair by Mark Ellis was published on November 21st with Accent Press (Headline), bringing to life the fascinating era during the war years for a detective of Scotland Yard.
DCI Frank Merlin is a respected member of the force with a track record for successfully solving case with a dogged perseverance. With the London streets under curfew and the constant fear of German bombing, many chose to leave the city and move to the safety of the countryside, as Frank’s wife Sonia has decided to do. Now with a new baby to care for Frank has a different perspective on life and his family’s safety is foremost in his mind.
Living on his own provides Frank with plenty of time to get on with the keeping the streets safe for all. Gangland crime is on the increase and looting and prostitution is rife. Unidentifiable bodies are nothing unusual anymore but when the body of a young girl is uncovered in a collapsed building, DCI Frank Merlin and his team are called in. This young girl was not a casualty of war, she was murdered……
In those bleak years of hardship, the movies provided an escape for many and the Hollywood icons of the time became household names on both sides of the Atlantic. At the same time the British film making industry was going through it’s own resurgence with studios producing very successful shows drawing the crowds and making it’s own home-grown heroes. When the body of the renowned film star Laura Curzon is found on the pavement outside her apartment block, DCI Frank Merlin is summoned with instructions from his superiors to make this case a priority and find out the truth behind the actress’s death. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? Or was it murder?
With the war raging on, the reader is given glimpses into the machine as the US is about to enter the fray. Pearl Harbour is destroyed and the death toll rises as the Japanese planes cause carnage and destruction in the Hawaiian naval base. Merlin and his team are very aware that they are not directly involved with the war effort but they all have family members and friends fighting the good fight, protecting a nation.
With the battle in the skies and the battle on the seas distracting the attention of many, the menace on the streets of London has been allowed to expand and infiltrate all echelons of society. Merlin and his team are up against corruption and fraud with the addition of some rather nasty characters who prey on the weak and will stop at nothing to achieve their objective.
Mark Ellis writes noir. Think men in shadow. Think starlets and gangsters. Dark streets and running feet. Cocktails and satin pyjamas. Think drama and whiskey, parties and cigarette smoke……and think MURDER!!!
A Death in Mayfair is a marvellous addition to this wonderful series. There is something very old-school about Mark Ellis’s writing that really appeals to me. There is an underlying authenticity that runs through the story bringing this time in history alive for the reader but from a very different viewpoint. A Death in Mayfair is the fourth book in this detective series featuring the charismatic DCI Frank Merlin and one that I recommend to all who like a nostalgic and original element to their crime fiction choice.
[ Bio ]
Mark Ellis is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister. He is the creator of DCI Frank Merlin, an Anglo-Spanish police detective operating in World War 2 London. His books treat the reader to a vivid portrait of London during the war.
Mark grew up under the shadow of his parents’ experience of the Second World War. He has always been fascinated by the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. His father served in the wartime navy and died a young man. His mother told him stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea from the safe vantage point of a hill in Llanelli, and of attending tea dances in wartime London under the bombs and doodlebugs.
In consequence Mark has always been fascinated by WW2 and in particular the Home Front and the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. Murder, robbery, theft and rape were rife and the Blitz provided scope for widespread looting.This was an intriguing, harsh and cruel world. This is the world of DCI Frank Merlin.
Mark Ellis’ books regularly appear in the Kindle bestseller charts. He is a member of the Crime Writers Association (CWA). His most recent book, Merlin at War, was on the CWA Historical Dagger Longlist in 2018. A Death in Mayfair will be published in November 2019.
Twitter – @MarkEllis15