Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC in response for my honest feedback.
I was really excited about reading this debut novel – others had said what a ‘fun’ novel it was, and that it was ‘like Hogwarts for adults’. I’m almost disappointed with myself that this wasn’t what I got out of the book, although I can see that plenty of other readers have loved it.
The novel’s premise – an underground detective agency that operates outside of the law – holds a great deal of premise, and I liked the idea of it bring set in post-war London, with the hints of espionage and a build-up to the cold war. However, the two didn’t seem to fit comfortably together, and I think that the potential for a great fantasy was marred by including the historical details.
The main thing that irked me about this book is that it read rather like the second in a series. The agency idea was interesting, but I would really liked to read about what ‘normally’ happens at this agency before this in-house crime. I didn’t get enough of a sense of the normal run of things, how the agency worked, relationships between the characters, to see any shift when the murder occurs.
I also found rather a lot of the characters to be flat, and struggled to differentiate between them. I was also rather baffled by how little interest there was in the murder, when everyone there was a detective – only a handful of characters seem to bat an eyelid!
Not for me, but others seem to have really enjoyed it.