I had to forcibly remove The Hangman’s Song from the Resident IT Consultant’s hands because James Oswald likes to revisit old crimes. It’s very nice and it adds to the continuity of his Inspector McLean books, but oh the spoilers! (And someone has not yet read The Book of Souls, so must be protected from finding out who did it and how and to whom and did anyone at all survive?)
You see the crime being committed in these books, and rather than taking away from the suspense, it adds to it. Especially when you see the murderer at it, again and again, with the police none the wiser.
In The Hangman’s Song, someone is making people hang themselves. And because the police department is headed by ‘an idiot’ and because there is money to be saved, you don’t investigate ‘suicides.’
Tony McLean wants to, but has to fight for it. He isn’t exactly flavour of the month, and also ends up at the receiving end of practical jokes. Because he is wealthy, and that is annoying.
I can see James Oswald building up some regular characters, who might be trustworthy. I hope so, in some cases. It’s just when they are odd in some way, you don’t know if they are the next bad guy, or your new – fictional – best friend.
For all the horror in the crimes; the senseless killing and maiming, this is very enjoyable. Edinburgh is the right size city for this kind of thing to work well in; both small and large. And McLean is the right kind of detective.
This is the kind of crime novel I could read all the time.