The Yard : Scotland Yard Murder Squad Book 1, Paperback Book

The Yard : Scotland Yard Murder Squad Book 1 Paperback

Part of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad series

3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A gripping debut from Alex Grecian, The Yard evokes London in the wake of Jack the Ripper.

Victorian London is in the grip of a wave of crime and murder, with its citizens no longer able to trust the police to protect them.

The newly formed Murder Squad of Scotland Yard, made up of just twelve detectives, battles in vain against the tide of violence and cruelty.When the body of a Yard detective is found in a suitcase, his lips sewn together and his eyes sewn shut, it becomes clear that not even the police are safe from attack.

Has the Ripper returned - or is a new killer at large? Walter Day, the squad's newest recruit, is assigned the case and finds a strange ally in the Yard's first forensic pathologist, Dr Bernard Kingsley.

Can they find the murderer before it's too late? Or is London at the mercy of a serial killer even deadlier than Jack the Ripper?Fans of Interpretation of Murder and The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher will love Alex Grecian's first crime novel: The Yard.

The Yard will take you into the dark side of Victorian London and offers a fascinating insight into the birth of CSI.Praise for The Yard:'If Charles Dickens isn't somewhere clapping his hands for this one, Wilkie Collins surely is.' New York TimesAlex Grecian has worked for an ad agency on accounts for Harley-Davidson, Cub Foods, and The Great American Smokeout, before returning to writing fiction full time and raising his son.

Alex is the author of the long-running and critically acclaimed comic book series Proof, and he lives in Topeka, Kansas, with his wife and son.

The Yard is his first novel.


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First Line: London, 1889. Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared and nobody was looking for him when he was found.Just months after Scotland Yard spectacularly failed to catch Jack the Ripper, Colonel Sir Edward Bradford has created the Murder Squad-- twelve men put in sole charge of solving all the violent crimes committed in the largest city in the world. Morale has never been lower at the Yard, for their failure to catch the Ripper has turned the population of London against them-- and now someone is killing them, sewing the police officers' eyes and mouths shut and stuffing their bodies in steamer trunks. Detective Inspector Walter Day, the newest member of the Murder Squad, will need all the help he can get from Dr. Bernard Kingsley (the Yard's first forensic pathologist) and Detective Constable Nevil Hammersmith if these murders of their colleagues are to stop.Even before I finished this book, I wanted to have copies of it magically appear in the hands of all historical mystery fans. When I did finish it, I had to restrain myself from dancing around the house in delight. What a marvelous book!Alex Grecian's descriptive powers would have Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins clapping him on the back in approval. In The Yard, Victorian London comes to life in all its smelly, crowded and depraved glory. Some readers may glance at the book's almost 600-page bulk and walk away, but this story reads like a house afire. The murders of the policemen aren't the only crimes Day, Kingsley and Hammersmith wind up investigating either. When the story begins, Day has only been at the Yard a week. As he becomes more accustomed to the men with whom he's working and with workplace routine, he and the other two men begin to pick out similarities in other crimes... and sometimes things just fall into his lap.Grecian does not leave his villains under cloaks of invisibility until it's time for the ending reveal. No, one by one they raise their masks, pull back their hoods, and show themselves to us. What's brilliant about this is that there's absolutely no reason to despair. This book is about so much more than identifying a few criminals. Knowing their identities and watching them follow the good guys around during their investigations really ratchets up the suspense-- especially when the chase leads Day and Hammersmith through narrow streets in the dead of night or in the creepiest asylum you'll ever have the "pleasure" of exploring. But more than lush descriptions and an intricate plot, The Yard is about people. We learn the backgrounds of Day, Kingsley and Hammersmith. We come to know them, to like them, and to care about their safety. We see the way they interact with people from every level of society. We learn what they believe to be important. I know that one of the basic tenets of crime fiction is justice-- to right wrongs, to speak for the dead. The Yard does all this and much more, but it's been a long, long time since I've read a book that was filled with so much compassion and humanity. Not only do Day, Kingsley and Hammersmith see the absolute worst that we humans can do-- they still believe we're worth fighting for, and worth saving. This book spoke to me on so many levels. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Review by

Rather disappointing. This could have been an excellent novel, but somehow Alex Grecian never really seemed to get hold of it, and the plot and characters just slipped away.It is set in 1889, when London is still bruised by the unsolved 'Jack the Ripper' murders. As the novel opens, newly promoted Inspector Day is summoned to Euston Square Station where an abandoned trunk has been found. The trunk contains a body, and not just any body but that of Inspector Little. He has been murdered and his lips have been sewn together. Day's investigations anre helped by Dr Kingsley, perhaps the earliest forensic scientist. This could all have been so good! Sadly, the writer seemed to lack the ability to pull this all together in any convincing manner. There seems to be a prevailing fascination with crime stories set in bygone ages, but I worry that while the writers make huge efforts to ensure historic verisimilitude, researching their context fully, they forget the basics such as having a robust, credible plot, or creating characters who behave like people!

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