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

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3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,557 Ratings  ·  562 Reviews
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
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 2013)
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Kelli Mccain This answer may be coming extremely late. I haven't opened this account in quite sometime. I found both books to be fine in terms of passing time and…moreThis answer may be coming extremely late. I haven't opened this account in quite sometime. I found both books to be fine in terms of passing time and intended them to be used a leisurely read.

Both had a handful of characters , almost too many, to keep straight in my opinion. I think it just depends on how much you're hoping to get out of the book. Not sure if that helps at all. (less)
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most anticipated mysteries 2013
48th out of 149 books — 570 voters
The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tim Hicks
Mar 26, 2014 Tim Hicks rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
I liked The Yard, and expected another good one with the same coppers. Nope. This is a stinker.

This one has a ludicrous gothic plot, full of cardboard characters and more deaths than Hamlet.

Poor old Hammersmith - Grecian tells us over and over and over again how H never looks after himself, then for the second half of the book treats the guy like Beaker from the Muppet Show.

A key character vanishes halfway through and isn't missed or even mentioned.

The bad guy tracks a character for years, i
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Miss M
Jun 12, 2013 Miss M rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
May 31, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
It is 1890 and Scotland Yards recently created Murder Squad is back to lend its skills outside of London this time. Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith have been called to the village of Blackhampton in what is referred to as the Black Country of England, the coal-mining region. Scotland Yard has only allotted two days for the pair to clear up a case of a missing husband, wife, and child from a prominent family. They not only have to contend with a suspicious, uncooperative commu ...more
Lynne
Nov 05, 2013 Lynne rated it it was ok
Having enjoyed Grecian's previous outing 'The Yard' (though it's not a patch on Ripper Street, I had relatively high hopes for the further adventures of Inspector Walter Day. This time, Day and his trusty Sergeant Hammersmith have been called in by local Constable Grimes to investigate the mystery of the Price family. Sounds clear enough? However, as another commenter on here has already noted, how much plot can be crammed into one narrative? (which in itself begs the question what has happened ...more
Siobhan
Oct 13, 2014 Siobhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Black Country follows on from Alex Grecian’s brilliant debut novel The Yard (which you should certainly pick up if you have not read it yet). Whilst it is not necessary to have read the prior novel I do recommend doing so. The books tell two completely different stories but there are aspects which carry over from the first book into the second, references which you will only truly understand if you have read the first book.

The Black Country continues with the best characters as they deal wit
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Jim
Aug 05, 2013 Jim rated it it was ok
Great googly moogly! How much plot can you cram into one book? In the case of "The Black Country", far too much. Grecian's first book, "The Yard", suffered from overplotting, but not to this extent. At the risk of giving too much away, this book has five separate murders (with four different murderers), an epidemic, a thunderous blizzard (reminiscent of Edward Bulwer-Lytton's prose), a building fire, and several mine tunnel collapses...many of these happening simultaneously.

Oddly, the numerous p
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Mahinn
Feb 09, 2016 Mahinn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Craig "NEEDS MORE DAMN TIME TO READ !!!!"
Not as good as the first book in my opinion but still a good read with these great characters and atmospheric setting!
Linda
Dec 10, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
A little girl has discovered a human eyeball in a bird's nest in the coal mining village of Blackhampton, where a local couple and their little son have disappeared. Baffled and alarmed, the local constable summons assistance from Scotland Yard, which assigns Inspector Walter Day and his sergeant, Nevil Hammersmith, to the case. They duo arrives by train in the midst of a blizzard, but the deepening white blanket can't disguise the grit and grime of the village, where houses are actually sinkin ...more
Tina
May 08, 2013 Tina rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the second book in this series. I like the characters,the settings and the plot. I look forward to more books in this series. I was really lucky to have had a chance to get this book before it came out. Alex you rock can't wait for more!
Ari
Jan 27, 2016 Ari rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
It's been some time since I read the first in this series so it took me a little while to remember the specifics about each character. This wasn't hard to do, mostly because there isn't immense depth to the characters, but there also isn't much character development involved so even once I remember who was who I didn't feel like I had gained much insight. I love the quick verbal exchange that happens for the majority of the dialogue - all very short, sweet, to the point, and offhandedly humorous ...more
Tracy Pierce
Jul 11, 2013 Tracy Pierce rated it it was amazing
This is the second novel with Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith of Scotland Yards Murder Squad. It's 1889 and the pair are sent to a coal mining town to find some missing villagers. Although I don't really like murder mysteries that involve children I guess there are good and bad children out there. I do like all the main characters in this series including the forensics doctor
Bernard Kingsley. If you like Martha Grimes books you might like these. Alex Grecian has a good way of
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Helen
Oct 24, 2014 Helen rated it liked it
Second in The Walter Day series, The Black Country finds Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad called to a small mining town to investigate the disappearance of a child and his parents. Secrets, superstition, and massive amounts of snow are only a few of the challenges Day and his colleagues face once they arrive in The British Midlands. The town is in the grips of a plague, calling on Dr. Kingsley to, not only treat the ill, but re-educate the town doctor as well. As the city slowly sinks into the elabo ...more
Larry
May 17, 2014 Larry rated it really liked it
The setting is great: a collapsing English coal town in 1890 is the site of three disappearances. Two cops from the Yard (plus an early version of a CSI specialist and his giant but dim helper) arrive to find the missing people, who are family members. Atmosphere is a long suit. The town itself is collapsing in earthquake-like tremors due the rabbit warren of coal mine galleries beneath it (including beneath the church). The local cop is stymied. The local people are either superstitious beyond ...more
Greg Z
Feb 09, 2015 Greg Z rated it liked it
Day and Hammersmith, members of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, have decided not to eat the meal provided to them by an innkeeper because of suspected poison. The innkeeper admits to the poisoning attempt, but explains, "...I was trying to help. A good night's sleep's all I wanted for you." Oddly, Scotland Yard's finest simply go about their investigation. Events seem a bit off-center in "The Black Country," just as they did in the previous "The Yard". There are also several instances in "Country" ...more
Benjamin Thomas
Jul 16, 2015 Benjamin Thomas rated it liked it
This second of the “Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad” series finds our team in the village of Blackhampton in the British Midlands in the year 1889. It’s known as the “Black Country” because of the heavy coal mining industry there in years past as well as because bad things happen there.

This is a complex murder mystery with several key subplots that mostly all come together in the end. A missing family, a stranger staying in the inn, a coterie of extremely superstitious village folk and a mysterious
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Rob
Apr 07, 2015 Rob rated it it was ok
In an earlier review I wrote about that disappointing moment when you realize an author you really like has written something that isn’t all that good. I made the comparison to other arts, mentioning in passing R.E.M.’s 2004 turd of an album, Around the Sun. And that pains me, because if I had to choose a favorite band, R.E.M. would be it. They’ve soundtracked my life pretty consistently from the time Green was released when I was but a wee lad in high school, and in that time it felt like they ...more
Barry Hammond
Dec 10, 2014 Barry Hammond rated it liked it
Alex Grecian's The Black Country is an historical crime novel set just after the Jack The Ripper Murders in London with the formation of London's first murder squad. This second novel, however, doesn't take place in London but in the midlands in coal mining country. A family has disappeared and Inspector Day and his Sergeant, Neville Hammersmith,have arrived for a couple of days at the behest of the local police to help out. It becomes quickly evident that everyone in the town is concealing some ...more
Sheila
Apr 27, 2015 Sheila rated it it was amazing
This is the second book in the Murder Squad series set in England. In this book Inspector Day and Hammersmith are called to a small coal mining village to help find a small boy and his parents who have gone missing.

There are 2 other stories going on as well. For one the entire town is sinking into the tunnels underneath and 2md a long time revenge started in Andersonville prison in the Civil War has crossed to England.

Excellent book and series. I highly recommend if you like historical mysterie
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Penny
Jul 13, 2015 Penny rated it liked it
This is a great thriller read - sort of! It's set in Victorian England in a strange town where the people are suspicious, insular and likely to betray you. The town is collectively sinking into the mining tunnels underneath the streets. Along comes our trusty Scotland Yard inspector and his sidekick to sort out a disappearance separately of a family and a child.

The atmosphere, descriptions and the locations are brilliantly done. The suspense is well-drawn out as we have circles within circles an
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Beckiezra
Aug 23, 2013 Beckiezra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
I hesitated to give this book five stars because I've been trying to be a bit more selective in my ratings, but honestly there was nothing I disliked about this book enough to take away a star. It may not be great literature but it made me happy to read and what more do I want from a book? I absolutely loved the characters (and I was so sad when I saw this book came out in 2013 so I can't really reasonably expect more until 2014), the story moved quickly even though there were lots of complicate ...more
Leigh
Jun 10, 2013 Leigh rated it really liked it
Loved this period-piece mystery set in Britain in 1889/90. If you love a Sherlock Holmes-type mystery with a bit of modern-day gore, this might be a good series to read.

Set in the English countryside in a coal-mining town, the story encompasses a span of just two days during a horrific winter storm. It has so many things that I love: an old inn for weary travelers with an eclectic mix of characters, a blizzard blowing open the doors mysteriously, an owl "omen" which flies in to predict who will
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Amy Sturgis
May 26, 2013 Amy Sturgis rated it really liked it
The Black Country is an able sequel to The Yard. It picks up several months after the events in The Yard and follows London's own Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith as they travel to an isolated mining village in the English Midlands for a brief (and, they hope, routine) investigation of a missing family feared to be the victims of murder.

Alex Grecian's strengths are creating a tangible sense of place and atmosphere - what he accomplished for post-Ripper London in The Yard he m
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Christine
Jul 25, 2013 Christine rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
In this second installment of Mr. Grecian’s new series Inspectors Hammersmith and Day travel to Blackhampton. It is known as the “Black country” because of the coal mining, but also because bad things seem to happen there. The local constable has reached out to The Yard for help in solving the disappearance of a prominent local family and the mysterious appearance of an eyeball in a bird’s nest.

Yes, I am always saying I do not have time to become invested in yet another “series” and then I go a
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Bonnie
May 30, 2013 Bonnie rated it it was ok
As much as I enjoyed Grecian's first book in this series, The Yard, I was rather disappointed in the follow-up. Two of the Murder Squad's detectives, Day and Hammersmith, go to the mining town of Blackhampton to search for a missing couple and their young son. The setting didn't capture me at all and neither did any of the local charcters. I missed the setting and strong characters from the first novel. I'm glad Claire, Kingsley, Fiona and Henry all made appearances, but they seemed forced on th ...more
Dayna Smith
Feb 09, 2014 Dayna Smith rated it it was amazing
The second book in the Scotland Yard's Murder Squad series. This book is the summer's most pleasant surprise. I was buying a book in Barnes and Noble off the sale rack and needed to pick another for the half-price discount. This was the only book that sounded even mildly interesting. I read it in one sitting! And then went out and bought the first book in the series The Yard. Set in England in the late 1880's, this is the story of Scotland Yard's relatively new "murder squad". Inspector Day and ...more
Jenn Ravey
Jul 23, 2013 Jenn Ravey rated it liked it
It was an unusual egg. Not at all like other eggs Hilde had seen. It was slightly larger than a robin’s egg, white with a thin spiderweb of red, visible under a paper-thin layer of snow….The blue dot in the center ringed a smaller black spot and reminder her of something, but it was out of context and it took her a long moment to place it.

And then she did and it was an eye, and the eye was looking at her.

Alex Grecian’s The Black Country has one of the more visceral openings of an historical myst
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Sue Smith
Jun 08, 2013 Sue Smith rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book but I think there was too much time between the first and this one as I had a heck of a time remembering who was who when I first started it. Then I decided to not worry about it and just enjoy the story, so it went much more enjoyably after that. It was a good who-dunnit actually and kept me on my toes through the majority of the story with lots of red herrings and an array of incredibly creepy children. (I seem to be picking up books with creepy children these days). I like ...more
Heather
May 21, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
I enjoyed everything about this book–Grecian’s succinct writing style; the further development of the main characters, including their backstories and their relationships with one another; the mystery itself; the time frame in which the story takes place; the historical bits about superstition, mining towns in the late 19th century, and the Civil War; and the twists in the story that kept me guessing. Just when I thought I had things figured out, Grecian would throw me a curve ball…and the big T ...more
J
Jun 15, 2013 J rated it liked it
I wanted so, so much to love this book. After falling in love with Day, and Hammersmith, and Kingsley in the first book, I was so excited to read about them again. Unfortunately, this story left me sorely disappointed. All my favourite characters were out to play, but the plot was another story (and another story, and another story, and another...)

The numerous plot lines were a hodgepodge of bits and pieces that barely held together, like a child's art project put together with scotch tape. I th
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Grecian is the author of several bestselling historical thrillers featuring Scotland Yard's Murder Squad: THE YARD, THE BLACK COUNTRY, THE DEVIL'S WORKSHOP, THE HARVEST MAN, and LOST AND GONE FOREVER, plus the original Murder Squad ebook, THE BLUE GIRL.

He also created the six-volume graphic novel series PROOF, and the two-part graphic novel RASPUTIN.

He currently lives in the American Midwest with
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More about Alex Grecian...

Other Books in the Series

Scotland Yard's Murder Squad (5 books)
  • The Yard (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #1)
  • The Devil's Workshop (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #3)
  • The Harvest Man (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #4)
  • Lost and Gone Forever (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #5)

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