I love Soho. And finding out that the main plot of this book is set in one of my favourite places filled with fond memories of a previous place of employment, I had high hopes for this book.
Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed.
I still love that the British Library Crime Classics are reminding us of some great novels we would otherwise miss out on, but this was not one of them.
For all I care, I’d happily never encounter Brandon’s work again. Ever.
Still, I guess there is some value in having this book as a reminder that publishing and crime fiction in general have, for the most part, moved on from creating pulpy, badly researched, slashers that base their entire plot on the portrayal of racism and tropes.
I even gave this book the benefit of my doubt as far as I could because I fully understand why some of the xenophobia was present in this story, but this story just does not work. Near enough the entire story is set in the immigrant communities, and yet, the only plot and tension was created because of the cliched portrayal of the groups of immigrants. I cannot even think of any one individual character who was portrayed as an individual human being. Not a single one.
Add to this some other ridiculousness – apparently, there was an espionage story in there somewhere – and I seriously cannot think why any trees had to die for this particular re-issue.