Thursday, January 12, 2023

A Malignant Death - Inspector Givens #5

A Malignant Death is the 5th Inspector Givens WW2 historical mystery by Charlie Garratt. Released 27th May 2022 by Sapere Books, it's 236 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free, as are the other books in the series.

This is an exceedingly well written and compelling series with very well developed and realistic characters. Set in 1940 in England, Givens and his wife have been forced to return to England from France as the war has made living there dangerous and impossible. He's called back into service to investigate the theft of military blueprints as well as the disappearance of his former boss in the police service. Although this is the 5th book in the series, the plot is self-contained in this volume, so it works well enough as a standalone. The characters do develop very well over the course of the series arc, and there are spoilers in this book which will make it more satisfying and cohesive if read in order.

The author does a good job of describing the racism and antisemitism of the day which can make for distressing (but realistic) reading. The characters are three dimensional and sympathetically and believably rendered. Of all the historical WW2 procedural series I've read, this is a perennial favourite and highly recommended.

Four and a half stars. Readers of Philip Kerr, John Lawton, and Alan Furst will find much to enjoy here.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.  

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