Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mathematical Bridge (Nighthawk #2)” as Want to Read:
The Mathematical Bridge (Nighthawk #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mathematical Bridge

(Nighthawk #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Cambridge, 1940. It is the first winter of the war and the snow is falling thick and fast. A college porter, crossing the ancient Mathematical Bridge on his nightly rounds, is startled to hear a child's cries for help coming from the icy river below. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke is summoned by police whistle and commandeers a punt in a desperate attempt to save the chil ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 21st 2019 by Allison & Busby
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  169 ratings  ·  33 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Mathematical Bridge (Nighthawk #2)
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am at a loss to understand why Jim Kelly is not more widely known in the crime and thriller reading community, his writing is beautiful, with what I refer to as an almost zen like quality, with rich descriptions and extraordinarily atmospheric. This is the sequel to his new historical mystery Nighthawk series set in WW2, in Cambridge, the university city an integral central character in the books, and the Fens. It follows on from The Great Darkness, and its the first winter of the war, and DI ...more
Compelling, assured and atmospheric historical crime mystery set in WW2 Cambridge.

In The Mathematical Bridge, the author once again creates a vivid sense of what it must have been like to live in wartime Cambridge with familiar views transformed by the addition of rooftop observation posts and searchlights to detect enemy bombers. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke’s home life reflects the daily experience of families during wartime. He and his wife, Claire, are awaiting news of their son serving w
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a fantastic read and works equally well as a follow up to the first book, in which I hope will be a series, or as a stand alone novel. The setting of a snow covered Cambridge in the winter of 1940 creates an evocative backdrop to a well plotted story with an interesting and believable blend of real and imaginary characters. Those of us who've discovered Mr. Kelly's talent are fortunate. I found this to be a hugely satisfying story with exactly the right level of historical det ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second in the Nighthawk series and once again author Jim Kelly shines a light on a lesser known part of Britain's history in the 2nd World War.
This time, the focus is on the S-Plan or Sabotage Campaign carried out by members of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) on mainland Britain from 1939 to 1940.
The story opens with the drowning of a 5 year old boy, tied in a sack and dumped in the freezing waters of the River Cam which flows through the centre of Cambridge. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed this latest in the nighthawk series its early 1940 Cambridge and a search for a child in the river cam and IRA bomb a local factory but the child seems to have a dark past. liked the many twists this crime thriller has and its like several different stories which interlink with each other. the book itself is an easy going and fast paced read
Marilyn Phillips
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, we’ll-crafted police procedural. Early WWII; Cambridge, England. Looking forward to reading more by Jim Kelly.
Julie Stielstra
Feb 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Didn't work for me. Kelly works too hard in using every single historical detail of every building in Cambridge in 1940. I'm more patient than many with slow pace, but after thirteen chapters, we know who the kid is and there's been a presumed IRA bombing, and that's it. Disappointed. ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Started out well and enjoyed Cambridge setting and gentle approach. Found the plot stretched and difficult to give credibility to. Characters a little stereotyped. Pity!
Mandy Radley
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I love the Shaw and Valentine series by Jim Kelly but struggled with this one, maybe just not in the right frame.........
David Prestidge
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“Detective Inspector Eden Brooke trudged into Market Hill, the city’s great square, as snowflakes fell, thick and slow, each one a mathematical gem, seesawing down through the dead of night. Every sound was muffled, a clock striking the hour out of time, the rhythmic bark of a riverside dog, the distant rumble of a munitions train to the east, heading for the coastal ports. The blackout was complete, but the snow held its own light, an interior luminescence, revealing the low clouds above. Brook
Helen Howerton
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detective Inspector Eden Brooke is a wounded man from the Great War, both literally and figuratively. He is most comfortable at night, when his damaged eyesight is less painful. That doesn’t stop him from solving crimes, wearing special eyeglass lenses as he goes about the streets of Cambridge. But he is ever reminded of what he has lost, and what the world has lost from that war. And now another one has begun. It is 1940.

In The Mathematical Bridge Brooke believes there is a connection between N
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
It could be just because I don't actually read much mystery but I really didn't get on with this book very well.
I read it as part of our book group, since we're in Cambridge and the book is set n Cambridge.

I found it to be so waffly, telling us all the things with 3 times the amount of words needed, rather than showing us. Again, I think this is down to the genre perhaps. There were a few times when I rolled my eyes at clichés or just really unrealistic and cheesy things that were said.

The st
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply satisfying novel. The writing style itself was very good, with meticulous attention to detail. Initially it felt dense and took me a few pages to be drawn in, possibly because the writer made every effort to bring alive the atmosphere of 1940 Cambridge, the workings of river traffic, the character of Detective Inspector Brooke, and most importantly, the anticipation for a war to finally start. The story itself builds gradually, and then in leaps and bounds, and it never lets go. One gets ...more
Stuart Graveston
Feb 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
I thought this was very poorly written and only persevered to the end because I live in Cambridge. I realise it’s a novel but there were so many things Kelly got wrong unnecessarily e.g. A boat moored at Coldham’ s Common.

The novels chief character has a father who supposedly recived the Nobel Prize for finding a cure for diphtheria. In fact a German doctor, Emil von Behring, got the prize. This stupid feature of the detective’s father added nothing to the book. Kelly say that the prize is award
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larry Fontenot
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been reading Jim Kelly books for a few years, primarily the Philip Dryden novels. This novel is the second in a new series featuring a man whose eyesight has been compromised due to injury in the First World War. Eden Brooke has returned to Cambridge and enrolled in the police forces. He has become a detective inspector. This is a finely written book and features the years right before the outbreak of WWII. Characters are strong and the crime center upon possible IRA activities. I recommend ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
So happy to discover this in the public library! I've read the Valentine and Shaw series and enjoyed them but this foray into historical mystery is even better. Set in Cambridge during World War II it not only tantalises with a twisty mystery but gives an insight into a difficult time in the past. The protagonist is character damaged by his experiences during World War I and there is a constant exploration fo the way we're all shaped by our experience, whether we know it or not. I'm going to hun ...more
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The second book in the Nighthawk series. A Cambridge Wartime Mystery

The second book see’s a young boy in a sack frantically waving his hand as he floats down the River Cam. Fleeting seen by a college Porter it see’s the police Lead by Aiden Brooke called out with others to find him.

Is it related to the IRA activity that is building up, or a freak accident. With the bombing imminent by Germany the town is on Red Alert.

Superbly written with great discriptive text it is a great read.

Jean Walton
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
As always, a very atmospheric novel set in Cambridge in the 1940s. The characters are well drawn and there is a definite air of menace with a child being killed and a police constable missing and then another body being found in a poor part of the town. The Detective has his own demons and inhabits a night time world along with other "nighthawks" wandering around Cambridge in the winter weather. ...more
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked the second installment in this series. DI Eden Brooke is a good policeman with a good family life, but he also has an interesting past. I liked the way the Irish were included in this part of the war, and I learned some things about life in England in 1940 that I wasn’t aware of.
The crimes were well done and kept me interested and guessing.
Lexie Conyngham
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This lovely, meditative atmosphere again, though we start with a child swept away in the river on an icy night. These are intriguing books, filled with memories of the first war, technicalities of living in Cambridge, the duties of police when war is coming, and nocturnal hospital scenes, and I find them bewitching.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great and Quietly Poignant Read

A bridge of justice and injustice. Exceptional character development with suspense and history intermixed to allow the reader to decide which bridge.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Enjoyable follow up to the first book in the series. The setting is described so well you can really feel the cold, grayness, and sense of anxiety of the time. The characters are appealing, and you want to know what will happen to them. The plot moves along at a good pace, and keeps you engaged.
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Atmospheric Wartime Detective Story

What excels in this book is the the quality of the research and a deftly drawn background highlighting an aspect of history I didn't know. Pedantry No one of the period would say "if you will". It would be if you like.
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent wartime novel set in Cambridge in 1940. I've enjoyed every single book written by Jim Kelly.
This has a great plot involving small-cell IRA terrorists, a murdered 5 year old boy and folk who are not what they seem.
Highly recommended.
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting, well written crime mystery, set in wartime Cambridge. I hadn't heard of Jim Kelly before, but will be on the lookout for more of his work. This was a real page turner, with great characters, including Cambridge itself, and an enjoyable read. ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well written story set in Cambridge during the lead up to World War II.
Stephanie Smith
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cambridge in wartime. Very good. Atmospheric and well-written.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love Kelly!!
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Add page numbers 3 10 May 15, 2019 11:59AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Postscript Murders (Harbinder Kaur #2)
  • Killing by Numbers (Bridget Hart #2)
  • The Coffinmaker’s Garden (Ash Henderson, #3)
  • Dark Blood (Logan McRae, #6)
  • Close to the Bone (Logan McRae, #8)
  • The Shooting at Chateau Rock (Bruno, Chief of Police #13)
  • Dead Beat (Kate Brannigan, #1)
  • Now You See Them (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #5)
  • Still Life (Inspector Karen Pirie #6)
  • A Deception at Thornecrest (Amory Ames #7)
  • Gallows Court (Rachel Savernake #1)
  • Death in the East (Sam Wyndham, #4)
  • Murder at the Fitzwilliam (Museum Mysteries, #1)
  • The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway #13)
  • Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection (Rivers of London #1.5, 1.6, 4.6, 5.65, 6.5)
  • A Christmas Railway Mystery (The Railway Detective #15)
  • Burial of Ghosts
  • All That’s Dead (Logan McRae #12)
See similar books…
Jim Kelly is a journalist and education correspondent for the Financial Times. He lives in Ely with the biographer Midge Gilles and their young daughter. The Water Clock, his first novel, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award for best first crime novel of 2002.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Other books in the series

Nighthawk (3 books)
  • The Great Darkness (Nighthawk #1)
  • The Night Raids (Nighthawk #3)

Related Articles

If you're a fan of the mystery and thriller genre and young adult books, recent months have brought a bevy of great reads to your shelves! We...
127 likes · 20 comments