Stalin's Gold: A Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis
|Stalin's Gold: A Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A complex and very satisfying plot. I listened to an audio download narrated by Matt Addis and it was superb: he illuminated the story. Highly recommended. Narrator of the audio version, Matt Addis, popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us and so did author Mark Ellis.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 312||Date: February 2014|
When we last saw DCI Frank Merlin he was champing at the bit to enlist and do his bit but frustrated by the fact that he could not be released. On the positive side there were signs that he was recovering from the death of his wife a couple of years earlier and he's now in a relationship with Sonia, a refugee from Poland who's working in the dress department at Swan and Edgar. The phoney war is well and truly over and London is suffering daily bombing raids: the capital is a dangerous place to be. Some people are taking advantage of the situation and looting is disappointingly frequent. It's one of the problems that have been dropped on Merlin's toes.
Not all the problems originated in London. Two years earlier Josef Stalin was annoyed that a massive shipment of gold which came from Spain was a couple of lorry loads light. He wanted it back and his henchman, Lavrentiy Beria is to track it down. It's not wise to be on the wrong side of either man and it appears that the gold might have ended up in London, via Warsaw and some high-ranking officials in the Polish Government in exile seem to be involved. On a personal note, Sonia's brother is a pilot officer in the RAF and he's concerned about the disappearance of Ziggy Kilinski, a fellow officer. The powers that be at Scotland Yard aren't convinced that Merlin should be investigating the disappearance - it seems that the man is just a deserter after all - but instinct and stubbornness keep him on the case.
It's a deceptively complex story: it's easy to think when hundreds are dying in London on a daily basis that the life of one Polish airman is not that important and there are those who see the common man as unimportant, but that's not Merlin's way. I loved that all the strands of the story intersected and that we saw real people (the King and Queen chatting to a couple of coppers who were with firefighters - she made him go back inside!) as well as Ellis's fictional characters who stand up well against the non-fictional players. There's an extensive cast of characters and they all come to life.
I hadn't read the book before I listened to this audio download, narrated by Matt Addis. Addis also narrated Frank Merlin: Princes Gate which I listened to recently and I did wonder if he would be able to maintain the same high standard, but I needn't have worried. If anything more voices are required in Stalin's Gold, including various foreign accents, but in almost ten hours of listening I was never confused about which character was speaking. It's a superb performance. I hope that it won't be too long before we hear more from DCI Merlin - and Matt Addis. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more of London in the blitz we can recommend Ashes to Ashes by Barbara Nadel. For more crime in an audio download you might enjoy Enter the Saint by Leslie Charteris and John Telfer (narrator).
Mark Ellis was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
Matt Addis was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You could get a free audio download of Stalin's Gold: A Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Stalin's Gold: A Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Stalin's Gold: A Frank Merlin Novel by Mark Ellis at Amazon.com.
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