Martin Daley

The Casebook of Inspector Armstrong: Volume 3

"..a couple of intriguing vignettes which left me wanting a whole novel featuring Armstrong."


An unknown American tourist, who will one day achieve greatness, visits Carlisle to research his family history. His arrival coincides with Inspector Armstrong's investigating of a macabre series of grave-robbing incidents in the city. The detective's enquiries inadvertently lead him into investigating a case that had lain dormant for over seventy years.

The second case is set against the backdrop of the Great War. With the building of the enormous munitions factory at Gretna, Cornelius is faced with the impossible task of controlling thousands of navvies who built and work at the factory, intent on coming into Carlisle on a nightly basis to drink away their disposable income. Labour unrest, Irish sectarianism, women's suffrage, and the Government's State Management Scheme are all issues, that when combined, prove every bit as explosive as The Devil's Porridge.

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This novella has two short stories featuring the erstwhile Cornelius Armstrong and is a fascinating read. Rich with period detail, every page evokes images of yesteryear as the dogged sleuth follows the clues. Sometimes it's nice to hark back to a different age and the fact these tales are devoid of all modern investigative tools brings out the best in both the author and his lead. Armstrong is a fine character and his interactions with those he knows shows how well he is respected by those he encounters. It was nice to see Woodrow Wilson feature in one of the stories and I enjoyed reading about HM Factory Gretna. These are a couple of intriguing vignettes which left me wanting a whole novel featuring Armstrong.

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