Ralph's Reviews > Who Killed Charlie Artful?

Who Killed Charlie Artful? by John Rigbey
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it was amazing
bookshelves: foreign-detective, mystery

Scotland Yard’s master thief-taker Michael Gregory is back in this taut crime novel from John Rigbey, himself a former detective (or ‘tec, as the British say) with the Metropolitan Police. In this fifth volume, Gregory has a new life, promoted to Superintendent from Chief Inspector, and a new wife, who this time, hopefully, will not fall out love with him because of the Job. In previous books, Gregory went through the sausage grinder, professionally and personally, targeted by activist police officials and witch hunters operating under the cloak of authority because of his “old-fashioned” idea that the best way to stop crime was to stop criminals; and cuckolded and alienated by a wife who wanted a marriage without the Job as competition. So, it’s nice to see Gregory finally triumph over one and put aside the other, back in top form, especially since this newest mystery, complex, convoluted and shrouded in lies and hidden motives, is going to require him to be at the top of his game, and then some.

When Detective Sergeant Sid Burton retired from the Metropolitan Police, he went to work for a law firm specializing in, not surprisingly, criminal law. After more than twenty years of ceaseless toil on the behalf of highly paid solicitors (not to mention the rich villains who can afford their services), Sid’s ready to retire again, this time for good and to a quiet life. Unfortunately, he never makes it, apparently dead of a heart attack. A heart attack it may be, but all the clues scream murder to Superintendent Michael Gregory, and when former Detective Inspector Charlie “Artful” Barrett, now in his 90s, dies the exact same day under suspicious circumstances, the conclusion is not “coincidence,” especially not when their own deaths coincide with the anniversary of the hanging of a child murderer brought to justice by their efforts fifty years earlier.

To solve his two current murders, Gregory must pursue clues in the present, from shady villains to shadier solicitors, but he must also chase leads in a double homicide case now fifty years cold. He is not only up against an administration that wants a quick solution and the barrier of time (lost evidence, fading memories and dead witnesses), but a rabid press corps more interested in a possible miscarriage of justice a half-century ago than the murders of two old men just yesterday.

In his previous four books concerning Gregory, Rigbey established himself as a master of the police procedural and a devious plotter. Here, he solidifies that reputation, and also brings to bear his ability to create characters you can love, can hate and can love to hate. Reading this book, you feel you are in the midst of the investigation, and when the author takes you back to the world of Plymouth (England) fifty years earlier, you can almost hear the screaming girls at the Beatles concert. A wonderful and exciting book from an author who is establishing himself as one of the best of England’s current crime writers, and an even better storyteller.

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Reading Progress

January 26, 2015 – Started Reading
January 26, 2015 – Shelved
February 10, 2015 – Shelved as: foreign-detective
February 10, 2015 – Shelved as: mystery
February 10, 2015 – Finished Reading

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