The Ghost of Helen Addison by Charles E McGarry
|The Ghost of Helen Addison by Charles E McGarry|
|Reviewer: Megan Kenny|
|Summary: The Ghost of Helen Addison is a fast paced, intriguing murder mystery set in the wilds of Scotland. Murder, intrigue and vivid imagery combine in this thrilling first instalment of the Leo Moran mystery series. If you enjoy a mystery with a spectral twist, this is the tale for you.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: July 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Leo Moran is a gourmand, sleuth and seer of visions. Beset by ghoulish dreams and apparitions of a terrible crime he leaves the safety of his extravagantly furnished Glasgow apartment and sets out to Lock Dhonn to aid the police in their investigation of the murder of the eponymous Helen Addison. Along the way he is visited by the phantom form of Helen and is besieged by evil forces before tumbling into a rabbit hole of deceit, mystery and the dark forces of the occult. In a race to solve the case and stop the wrong man being accused of such a ghastly crime, Leo must draw on all his skills and convince the police that the killer is still at large and waiting to strike again.
The Ghost of Helen Addison is the first Leo Moran mystery and it is clear to see why McGarry would want to serialise the exploits of this eccentric, pompous private eye. Leo is a well written, complex character, on the one hand spiritual and devout, on the other gluttonous and driven by his appetites. A man truly haunted by events from his past, only ever teasingly referred to here, he possesses an often self-destructive need to insert himself into the investigation despite the protestations of the local police and manages to do so despite being apparently inebriated for much of the time. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Leo recklessly risks life, limb and reputation to solve the mystery surrounding Helen's death, picking up friends and enemies along the way.
It is easy to become absorbed in Leo's journey and to share his growing vexation with the investigation, due to McGarry's skills as an evocative, eloquent writer and his descriptions which are lusciously vivid and colourful, from Leo's gastronomic pleasures to the rural, wild beauty of Loch Dhonn. This level of detail leads to an immersive, engrossing tale which draws the reader in and captures the imagination. The story moves at a decent pace and the increasingly bizarre events surrounding Leo, as well as the growing threat from the killer means you will be racing to finish and find out who perpetrated such ghastly deeds. The conclusion doesn't disappoint and, without giving anything away, the ending ties up all loose ends in a satisfying bow.
Whilst the story has an otherworldly, ethereal edge, McGarry balances the tightrope between the spiritual and the tangible expertly. It is for the reader to decide whether Leo has the gift of second sight, whether the killer is indeed in league with forces of darkness or whether there are more concrete, corporeal answers to the mysteries surrounding Helen's murder. The characters here are also sketched in vivid relief and whilst I could have done without as much focus on the size of the breasts of one of the female characters, an irrelevant detail which adds nothing to the story, overall the depth shown ensures the characters are interesting and allow the reader to visualise the lives of the key players involved in the case. McGarry has a clear gift for description and he has used it to full effect here, making The Ghost of Helen Addison a compulsively readable mystery. I'm sure Leo Moran will continue to grow in stature and pomposity throughout the series and I look forward to the next instalment.
For those interested in the continuing adventures of an amateur sleuth, you could try Divorce Turkish Style (Kati Hirschel Istanbul Murder Mystery) by Esmahan Aykol.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ghost of Helen Addison by Charles E McGarry at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Ghost of Helen Addison by Charles E McGarry at Amazon.com.
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