A rash of inexplicable crimes prompts an intuitive investigator to probe perilous territory indeed: his own turbulent past.
In the summer of 1914, asylum supervisor Stanley Ince is shocked to come face to face with DI Silas Quinn (The Dark Palace, 2014, etc.), one of the first inmates he had met many years ago, who’s now once again bathed and forced into a straitjacket. After this arresting scene, the story flashes back to a baffling series of crimes six weeks earlier. A man named Harold stares intently at a polar bear recently brought to the London Zoo, then feverishly rips off his clothes and leaps onto the bear’s terrace, where he’s mauled to death. The case falls to Quinn, who works in the Special Crimes Department of New Scotland Yard with his faithful sidekick, Macadam. Morbidity and insecurity dog the detective constantly: “Quinn could not shake off a sense of impending catastrophe.” As he investigates, a similar case occurs in nearby Archway, where a naked man jumps from a structure widely known as the Suicide Bridge. On the heels of this death comes a third incident. This time a naked man throws himself onto a direct-current dynamo at a power plant. Rushing to interview the man in the hospital, Quinn shocks everyone present by declaring that the patient is his half brother, Malcolm Grant-Sissons. While Quinn muses on the unhappy end of his stepfather, inventor Hugh Grant-Sissons, Macadam strikes out on his own. Their paths converge in a surprising way.
Morris’ third is taut and twisty with a psychological intensity that’s rare and compelling.