Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Saturday 18 November 2023

"The Night Raids" by Jim Kelly

An audio book.

It's 1940. A German bomber tries to hit a railway bridge outside Cambridge.

Inspector Brooke is in a Cambridge pub when a bomb lands nearby. He finds that a nearby house has been looted - the fingers of an old woman were cut off to get the rings. She was murdered first. The criminal might have used a bicycle. Brooke had earlier found blue fuel in the Cam.

He's 41. His mother died when he was 6. His father (a prof) died at 60. Brooke served in Egypt. He has sleep problems, is over-sensitive to light, and likes swimming. He's married to Clare, who's a sister at Addenbrookes. He has a daughter Jo and a grandchild. Jo's husband is missing presumed dead.

He's friends with Grandcourt who works at the university's Engineering Department, which gives him access to various forensic experts.

The Fitzwilliam has been commendeered as an HQ. His ex-colleague Kurler works there. All but the big Egyptian treasures have been put away in storage.

The grand-daughter of the killed woman has disappeared. So has her boyfriend (whose Italian parents are in a camp). She'd had another boyfriend - Tim, a pilot.

The blue fuel is adulterated petrol. He tries to track down the gang (they get kids to siphon petrol from cars), because gloves found at the crime scene smelt of the fuel.

The grand-daughter's body is found in the river, strangled like her grandmother. 2 months pregnant. The boyfriend's departure was a coincidence - his father was in hospital.

The body of the pregnant woman's sister is found.

We're more than 50% through the book before we're tolds that Brooke's father was a Nobel prizewinner.

An item from the looted house was sold at Norwich market. It's tracked back to an ARP warden, Ollie, who lives on the house's street.

We learn about the German bomber's family. They're in Berlin, which is beginning to be bombed. He's under pressure not to fail bombing the bridge a 2nd time.

He canoes down to Barrington, where locals claim that they have the country's biggest village green, and find where the petrol scram (and much else) is centred.

Ollie is hiding in an allotment hut when the police find him. He escapes. Tim shoots down the bomber over Cambridge before he dies. The bomber crash-lands, having failed again to hit the bridge. The wreckage is looted by Ollie, who'd proposed to a murdered woman with a ring he'd looted (and she recognised). Ollie and the crew all die.

Jo's husband returns.

A bit too much research in places. Or maybe it's just that I knew the background already - I work in the Engineering Dept almost opposite Old Addenbrooke's.

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