This Thing of Darkness (Fiona Griffiths #4) by Harry Bingham
I recently reviewed the Jeffery Deaver novel, The Cutting Edge. In my review I noted how a Deaver novel was like a text book because you learned so much.
Deaver has nothing on Harry Bingham. I don’t know that Bingham is better at that than is Deaver but I would say they both offer great opportunities for learning. I know for sure there was much to learn in this novel and that’s been true of all of the Fiona Griffiths novels I’ve read.
Oh, one thing I learned reading the author’s notes at the end of the book, Bingham reads reviews both on Amazon and Goodreads. But I will not be intimidated. I will give what I feel is an honest review and just because I’m prepared to heap praise on this book doesn’t mean I’m bothered by Bingham’s review of my review one bit. So HA! Harry Bingham, just Ha!
(Scurry’s to the door to make sure the locks are thrown just in case Harry is on the prowl.)
So what subjects did we learn about from this book? Rock climbing of course, and how an adept climber of rocks can also be an adept climber of buildings. (Thankfully my house is a single story so I don’t have to worry about a climber getting into the third story and stealing my fabulously expensive cobwebs that have taken years to build up.)
We learn a bit about trans Atlantic cables. And like Fiona, I thought all of that data was done via satellite! We learned that time is money and when I say time we are talking milliseconds. I had no idea how those things worked but Bingham, having done his research taught us how that is so.
We learned a bit about trawlers out on the Irish Sea but not nearly as much as those two subject previously mentioned.
But we also learned a bit about Fi.
In the vernacular of our British friends, Fiona Griffiths is a nutter. Oh we knew that before but in this novel that nutterness comes out even more. But that shouldn’t be used to denigrate Fi because she’s also a genius at times. As dumb as she can be she has moments of brilliance and thus the basis of the stories Bingham weaves for us.
Fiona lives and works in Wales, for the most part that is. She does traipse off to other parts of the UK from time to time and even to foreign countries. Well they are all foreign to me ensconced as I am in the U.S. but I mean foreign to Fi. Specifically in this novel we are talking about Spain, Portugal and France.
So what is this novel about? It’s about 2 cold cases that Fi is given by Jackson, her uber boss in order to keep her mind going in the right direction. One was a break in and theft of a third story (second story in British terms if I’m not mistaken), a seemingly impossible feat that could be performed only by, say, Peter Pan. The other is the death of a night watchman, not as he made his rounds but after he partook of a couple of pints and feel off of a cliff while walking home.
But Fi, in her screwed up but insightful way doesn’t see it that way, neither of them. She doesn’t believe it was Peter Pan that broke into the third (or second) story nor does she feel that the night watchman fell to his death but rather was dead or close to it on his way down the cliff.
So what do those unrelated events have to do with trawler’s on the Irish Sea and trans Atlantic cable? Oh ye who have read my reviews; you know this is coming. . . READ THE BOOK!
Along with those crimes which set off a massive investigation, we have a kidnapping and torturing of a young female Detective Constable (Fi herself). We have the suicide which isn’t a suicide of a marine engineer who, it turns out, was also tortured. We have a world class climber of rock and, as we learn, buildings. We have insurance fraud. And we have a young female Detective Constable (yes, our beloved Fiona again) taking the exam for Sergeant. Does she pass? Yes, you guessed it; READ THE BOOK!
Watkins, Jackson, Penry, Ed and even Buzz plus Mike all play excellent supporting roles and they read their lines quite well and never miss their marks. Add Lev to that mix and you have. . . well, quite a mix.
In the past I have given the Bingham novels I’ve read 4 stars. Not this time. No, this time Bingham got that 5th star. He earned it, and no I’m not intimidated that he might read this review. Well, not much at least.
I loved the prose of this book and, as Harry himself points out in the afterward, he doesn’t Americanize his books but keeps them true to the UK and even more precisely, to Wales at times. The spelling wasn’t a problem at all. I mean if you can’t figure out that colour and color are the same thing then you probably should be listening to an audio book. There are times when I had to look something up, usually on Wikipedia or in the dictionary and I seldom have to do that with most books written for the American audience. I don’t mind that. Remember, earlier on I said this was text book and that is part of the learning.
So OK Mr. Bingham, can I take my catcher’s mask off, the one that I’ve been wearing in case you don’t like my review and want to punch me in the nose? Did I do OK?
Guess what? I don’t really have a catcher’s mask and I didn’t write this for Harry Bingham, I wrote it for me, and for anyone of our Goodreads readers who want to know what this book is about and if they should read it. I’ve given you hints as to the former and the answer to the latter is, if you like suspense, action, if you like delving into the mind of a young lady who has problems but also has lots of answers, then not just yes but HELL YES! Read this book.
"If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy." David Frum, Republican, January 18, 2018