CREATOR OF WORLD WAR II DETECTIVE, FRANK MERLIN
'Atmospheric...featuring a charismatic and intriguing half-Spanish detective...an enthralling detective novel.'
'A thumping great plot, packed with heart.'
'This exciting, very well plotted and historically evocative story drives forward to its gripping conclusion. Frank Merlin is a lovely creation and totally convincing even down to the hole in his shoe. He is the English-born son of a Spanish migrant who decided to change his surname from 'Merino' to that of one of his favourite Arthurian legends. I lost myself in this thriller . . . superb entertainment.'
'Nostalgia, sex and intrigue all rolled into one - great!'
'Ellis does a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere as thick as any 1940s London pea souper... Princes Gate is a novel that makes you want to read – you can’t ask more from a book. I struggled to put the book down and I can’t wait to see what becomes of Frank Merlin, his colleagues and his friends in the next adventure.'
A hard-boiled detective story set on the dark streets of London not long after England entered World War II.
This is Ellis’ (Stalin’s Gold, 2015) first instalment in a series that revolves around Merlin’s adventures. The author’s deep knowledge of London during this era has the stamp of scholarly rigor, and his gritty portrayal of the city gives the plot a sheen of authenticity. Further, the spectre of war, and the intramural wrangling regarding England’s entry into it, adds an ambient volatility to the proceedings. Still, the anchor of the tale is Merlin, a quietly complex character—he lost his wife suddenly, and he ruefully expects the decline of his country, displaying a cynicism that seems to serve him well as a detective.
Overall, this is a well-constructed mystery that artfully furnishes just enough information to keep readers invested but not so much as to slacken the suspense.
A historically astute, skillfully developed crime drama.
'A real treat.'
'The strength of this story is in the characterisation, and Mark Ellis clearly enjoys writing about criminals and sleaze balls of all levels who are out for their own ends and don't give a stuff about the war. Set in London, in January 1940, we are quickly propelled into the atmosphere and feel of desperation.'