After the nautical excitement of last week, it is now the time for murder on the Isle of Dogs. Fortunately it is a fictional crime and a book written by well-known American crime writer Deborah Crombie.
Regular readers will know I am always on the look out for books that feature the Isle of Dogs and Kissed a Sad Goodbye features many of the Island landmarks. The book was written in the late 1990’s and captures the considerable changes taking place on the Island at that time.
The story begins with George Brent, an Islander walking his dog near to Asda when he finds a young woman’s body in the tall grass of Mudchute Park, Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, Detectives from Scotland Yard are assigned to the case and quickly begin to realise that this will not be a straightforward case.
A number of characters appear on the police’s radar, a mysterious busker who plays in Island Gardens and the Greenwich foot tunnel, the victim’s well to do fiancé; her sister’s ex-husband and her father.
What is intriguing about the book is that the author uses the history and character of the Docklands and the Isle of Dogs to provide an atmospheric background to the story. She cleverly intersperses the modern aspects of the story with historical accounts of the evacuation of local children during the bombings of WWII.
Another interesting part of the book is how the author has used the research of people like local historian Eve Hostettler to provide small quotes at the start of some of the chapters. The author’s extensive research gives the book a great deal of credibility and manages to tap into the Islands unique history.
Deborah Crombie was born in Dallas and bought up in Texas, She then worked in advertising and newspapers. A visit to England led to a life-long passion for Britain, and she later moved to the UK with her first husband living in Edinburgh and Chester. She returning to the US and wrote her first Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James novel, A Share in Death in 1993. Her subsequent novels have been published with success all over the world.
It is quite surprising how many American crime writers write about London and especially about East London, but this is one that focuses almost entirely on the Isle of Dogs which is more unusual. If you come across a copy it is well worth a read and shows that in many ways the Island certainly has a global appeal.