Tuesday, April 19, 2022


Brian Carland's Reviews > Arrowood

Arrowood by Mick Finlay

's review
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it was amazing

Finlay has hit on a great approach to writing Victorian detective fiction. His detective is the antithesis of Sherlock Holmes. Where Homes uses deduction, Finlay's William Arrowood uses his gut instinct (he calls it "psychology"). Homes is slender, smokes a meerschaum pipe, and is consulted by the upper crust of 1890's society. Arrowood is fat, smokes cigars, and is consulted by "everybody else." Holmes' chronicler, Dr. Watson, is a bumbling airhead, while Arrowood uses Norman Barnett, an assistant whose intellect often saves the day when the "turnip headed" Arrowood chases his gut instinct down a rabbit hole.

And there are plenty of rabbit holes in this first of what will hopefully be a long series. His client is the beautiful Caroline Cousture, who wants him to find her brother (she chooses him, she says, because she can't afford Holmes). Unfortunately, she has a bad habit of lying. Like, every time she says anything. And, her missing brother worked for Stanley Cream, owner of the Barrel of Beef and head of a gang that terrorizes all London and has bested Arrowood and Barnett before. And threatened them with death if he ever saw them again. But Arrowood promised the shapely Miss Cousture his help before he learned this and is a man of his word. (And impossibly stubborn to boot.)

It all leads to a merry chase that despite many a cliff-hanger leads to a happy ending for Arrowood and his intrepid sidekick Barnett. And, of course, Miss Cousture finds her brother, and the evil Stanley Cream gets his. You, the reader, may have found a new author to follow, and I am looking forward to reading Arrowood #2.

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