Well, it seems like I’ve just become a fan of British mysteries. Not the Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes variety. I like some of the modern mystery writers like Peter Robinson and now John Harvey. Unfortunately, I’ve started at the end because Darkness, Darkness is the last book in the Charlie Resnick series.
In 2014, Jenny Hardwick’s body has been found under a porch foundation. She had disappeared in November 1984, in the midst of the Coal Miners’ Strike in Great Britain. While she was vocally pro-strike, her husband Barry, a miner, was anti to the point of working during the strike…a scab. While back then the reason for Jenny’s disappearance was uncertain, it was assumed she ran off with a man to start a new life, leaving Barry and her three children behind. The investigation at the time led to no conclusions.
With the reappearance of Jenny’s body, the case needs to be reopened. Resnick, who was redundant, but came back to the police on a part time basis, is asked to help Catherine Njoroge, a young, very Black detective with the investigation (several strikes against her). Don’t make anything big out of it. No one wants to bring up police issues from the strike.
Knowing very little about the Coal Miners’ Strike did not, in any way, detract from this book. But Harvey does supply a bibliography for those interested in learning more about it. Not knowing the back story also did not detract from it. Darkness, Darkness flips back and forth between Jenny’s life leading up to her disappearance and the investigation of her murder. It also flips between Resnick’s current and immediate past lives, the flipping being somewhat abrupt but not confusingly so.
In some ways, Resnick reminds me of Peter Robinson’s Inspector Alan Banks, possibly because they both have lives outside of the police force, they both like music, they both plod along until they get to the answer. In addition, many of Robinson’s stories are cold cases, which apparently I like….a lot!!!! (Yes, I did watch Cold Case when it was on TV.)
Begun in 1988, the Resnick series has 12 novels, 16 short stories and two television adaptations (you bet I’m going to try and find the TV adaptations). While I’m not going to go back to the beginning (you’d understand why if you saw my library reserve list), I will keep an eye out for more John Harvey mysteries. I’m suggesting you do the same.