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Mask of the Verdoy: A George Harley Mystery (Book #1)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  15 reviews
“It feels as though the reader is actually walking the cobbled streets and rubbing shoulders with the Londoners of the period … The plot moves with unremitting pace and it is a great tribute to Mr Lecomber that he manages to keep up both the tempo and the suspense until the very last page. 5 STARS – Highly recommended!” – (BEST SELLING CRIME THRILLERS)

“The smoky and smoggy
Paperback, 460 pages
Published October 9th 2014 by Diablo Books
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T.M. Tucker
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a great first novel this is. The setting is unique in detective fiction - Britain in the early 1930s, before the threat of Fascism has reached its crescendo. Set almost exclusively in London, Lecomber paints a broad canvas around the social, political and cultural upheavals of the time.

The characters are brilliantly rich and varied; from rent boys to gangsters, law enforcers to politicians, honest working people to corrupt aristocrats, you can feel the period come alive in vivid detail.

Dylan Bodendieck
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction is kind of notorious for being boring, but I was pleasantly surprised with how interesting this book was throughout - even though it's definitely a longer book. As someone who generally enjoys a slightly darker story, I thought this did a really good job of combining the aspects of the London underworld with a dry humor. I enjoyed how overall witty and intelligent Harley was through the entire book, and I liked the relationship between him and his by-the-book partner. I'm alwa ...more
Babus Ahmed
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Private Investigator George Harley, rescues a rent boy from a beating only later to find him murdered in Harley's spare room. The DI on the case is only too happy to call it a suicide but Harley knows this isn't the case. With his encyclopedic knowledge and his useful connections Harley is able to see that this killing is linked to others and is part of a much bigger conspiracy.

An absolutely mesmerising read set in 1930s London, post WWI, the language, setting and characters really bringing the
Tracey Lampley
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The author amazed me with the amount of research employed. The characterization, plot and setting were spot on. The entire concept was brilliant! I rate this book a four-star read.
The Book Eaters
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rachel, reviewed
The original review, and many other reviews and features, can be found at

London in the grip of the dark valley of the 1930s is the setting for Phil Lecomber’s debut novel, Mask of the Verdoy. Deep in the murk and smog of the seedier side of London, George Harley, WWI veteran and private detective, encounters a young rent boy on the wrong end of a vicious beating. He rescues him, shelters him and ultimately vows to find his killer when the boy is murdered in George’
Gin Saunders
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am not a great fan of crime thrillers or historical fiction but this novel, which combines the two, was a riveting and hugely enjoyable read. Recommended by a friend, I was convinced I’d dislike it, but quickly found myself utterly absorbed by the story, characters and 1930’s London landscape.
Lecomber eloquently evokes a 30’s London bursting with life; you can almost smell the stench of the backstreets as he quickly sweeps you into London’s dark and sinister underbelly where you meet a cast of
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Mask of Verdoy is first and foremost a page-turner. It sits comfortably in the thriller/mystery/detective genre - something to take on holiday or read in bed to displace the stresses of the day - but it adds a nice twist of historical authenticity.

The novel is set in London in the nineteen thirties, a time of desperate poverty and ostentatious affluence. Pea-soupers, working class camaraderie, and the casual violence of London's underworld all make an appearance as the effects of the Great W
Annabelle Heap
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
George Harley, like all good fictional detectives, is a flawed character. As a WWI veteran he is still haunted by his experiences as well as the brutal but mysterious death of his fiancé. The large chip on his shoulder against the aristocracy and moneyed classes often colours his vision, but he’s unable to see that he no longer fits happily in his east end world having inherited his well-travelled uncle’s house, money and an extensive library, often accused of being too well read and having idea ...more
Maggie Thom
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this mystery that takes you back to the time of the early 30's in Britain. It has that old-fashioned intrigue, who-dunnit feel to it. There are a lot of characters in this story but they are all well developed, even the secondary characters. The setting was so real I felt like I was there in George's old house, on the streets with the street lamps, the old theater... The language fascinated me - they truly had a way with words, there is so much color to their language. Very well done. Th ...more
Librarian Judith
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, mystery
At The Library, we love historical fiction and we love a good mystery, and in The Mask of the Verdoy we have them both. What an excellent start of a series.

The characters are all three-dimensional-- there are no stock characters that are there just to serve one purpose. They are real-- with a mixture of good points and bad traits. There's a large cast to be sure-- but the main character is George Harley, private detective who has an interesting backstory that the author skillfully reveals as the
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hahaha, this was highly entertaining. I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed George Harley. A solid four stars. Can't wait for the next book! ...more
Lucy Mason
Very gripping - really can't wait for number two! ...more
Lee B. Coken
Not for everyone

Was this a good book yes, but it it slow going. You have to get used to the old English being used which to slow down reader. The other issue I had was the author letting the characters preach for more than a few lines. It tended to make my eyes glaze over. That said, the last quarter of the book was extremely satisfying.

john mclauchlan
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable read

Would recommend,well written and entertaining book. George Harley is my kind of hero, human and flawed but more believable because he is
Briar's Reviews
Mask of Verdoy by Phil Lecomber was a great mystery read for those wanting some historical fiction in their lives.

I was not the biggest fan of this book, but I will admit it was written exceptionally well. Personally, I found this book to be very slow. The plot was written incredibly, but it moved to slow for me. I enjoy a fast paced novel that keeps me hooked at every word, and this book did not. I was forcing myself through each chapter, and I wasn't that entertained due to the pace.

But, that
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Phil Lecomber
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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PHIL LECOMBER was born in 1965 in Slade Green, on the outskirts of South East London—just a few hundred yards from the muddy swirl of the Thames.

Most of his working life has been spent in and around the capital in a variety of occupations. He has worked as a musician in the city’s clubs, pubs and dives; as a steel-fixer helping to build the towering edifices of the square mile (and also working on

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