The Yard by Alex Grecian

Posted On 13 November 2012

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Just finished reading The Yard by Alex Grecian.  This is almost the last of my RIP pick ups!  The story starts in the 1890s just after The Ripper has disappeared mysteriously off the scene.  Public confidence is at an all time low and this is evidenced further when one of The Yard’s own detectives is found dead in a trunk at the train station – a nasty murder, with the victim’s eyes and mouth sewn shut.

The story switches between a number of different perspectives, which whilst interesting, definitely remove the mystery element of the book – I didn’t mind this.  One of the perspectives is that of the killer and it’s obvious fairly early on in the story who this is.  So, be warned that this is not a murder mystery or typical detective story.  Alongside the main crime is a separate murder story which at first is in danger of becoming entangled, and actually does become a bit so.  And on top of this we seem to be taking a look at the birth of forensics and the crime scene – although whether this actually bears any resemblance to the real developments I really couldn’t say.

I enjoyed this book.  It’s a bit grisly in parts.  It certainly depicts a rather gruesome and brutal side of London for that particular era and takes a good look at the underbelly.  I liked that it explored this issue of the impact that the Ripper had on society.  Like he awakened this new beast in certain people who now began to look at their own dark sides – he gave to them the serial killer.  Again, I don’t know how reflective of reality that actually is but it was an interesting idea.

I thought the two main characters, Day, newly arrived from Devon and now in charge of the case and Dr Kingsley who is the police doctor were both interesting characters and quite well developed.

In terms of criticism, I’m not going to say I didn’t have any.  To be honest, I could have probably done without the secondary murder plot which for me felt a little forced and quite often with too many convenient coincidences to be anything other than a little bit silly.  I mean, London is a big place and yet the same characters have a funny knack of running into each other quite often.  I also thought the storyline with the family and the chimney sweep was a bit odd and not totally resolved satisfactorily.

On top of this – if you want your book to be truly representative then you’ll probably be disappointed.  The dialogue is definitely not from the era and the description of London I thought could have been pretty much anywhere.

And yet, in spite of those criticisms I did like this.  It was a gory spectacle, there was an element of racing against time as the identity of the killer was gradually unveiled and somehow it just felt like a bit of an indulgent read – does that sound a little odd given the murders.  I’m not sure how else to put it.  It wasn’t historically accurate but it was entertaining.

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4 Responses to “The Yard by Alex Grecian”

  1. TBM

    I recently watched a documentary on Jack the ripper. How crazy that they still don’t know for sure. This one sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    • lynnsbooks

      The days before forensics! I enjoyed The Yard.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Carol

    I enjoyed this one. In general, though, I don’t really care too much about historical accuracy. I’m willing to just go along with the book.

    • lynnsbooks

      I agree, I’m pretty happy to read something without being overly concerned about accuracies although it does seem to really irritate some people. I picked this up from Carl’s RIP – I can’t remember from which blog though – did you review it – perhaps that’s where I got the recommendation from? If so, thanks, I did enjoy it.
      Lynn 😀

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