The Christmas Eve killing of a Jew exposes the depth of anti-Semitism in 1890s Leeds.
DI Tom Harper (Gods of Gold, 2014, etc.) is preparing to enjoy some Christmas leave with his wife, Annabelle, the wealthy, ambitious owner of a pub and several bakeries, when he’s called out to a murder in the Leylands section, where a young Jewish man has been found stabbed to death, posed in the shape of a cross, with pennies covering his eyes. Abraham Levy was the nephew of Rabbi Feldman, an honored figure in the Jewish community. But the community’s younger men, who were born in England, are inspired by a younger rabbi, who helps them fight for their rights as British citizens—until he becomes the next victim. Harper and his sergeant, Billy Reed, don’t have to look very hard to find individuals and groups who think the Jews and the Irish are taking their jobs, and Harper soon identifies some likely suspects. Even one of his old neighbors, always a bully, turns out to be a member of a small cadre led by a mysterious upper-class man who’s been free with money to encourage the haters. Despite Harper and Reed’s best efforts to uncover his identity, they can identify him only as Alfred, a name assuredly not his own. Going undercover, Reed is badly beaten and left for dead. When the younger men of the Jewish community form a protection group called Golem after the old folk tale, the powers that be fear a powder keg is ready to explode. Desperate for answers, Harper pushes himself and his men beyond his normal code of ethics.
Another of Nickson’s excellent police procedurals with a social conscience.