A bold and twisted killer challenges one of New Scotland Yard's most brilliant young detectives.
March, 1914. A beautiful young rent boy named Jimmy accepts a carriage ride from a top-hatted toff despite a few details about the man he finds worrisome. The next morning, DI Silas Quinn is called to investigate a bizarre murder on the London Docks. Quinn, dubbed "Quick-fire Quinn" by the Daily Clarion, is meticulous but also a bit of a maverick. His two stolid sergeants, Inchball and Macadam, pose quite a contrast to Quinn, who started as a medical student but dropped out after his beloved doctor father committed suicide. Quinn is as socially awkward as he is professionally accomplished. He lives in a boardinghouse, devotes himself entirely to his work and is unable to converse easily on even the most casual topics. This case gives him plenty of reason to concentrate his attention. The throat of the victim was slit, and all of the blood drained from the body. His file at the local police station bears the designation, "Unidentified Sodomite." Starting from a beautiful cigarette case found on the body, Quinn probes the seamy London subculture in which wealthy and influential men buy the sexual favors of disadvantaged youth.
Morris, author of the Porfiry Petrovich series (The Cleansing Flames, 2011, etc.), kicks off this promising new series by focusing as much on the conflicted and vulnerable character of Quinn as on the crime itself. Though his prose is often too pedestrian for the sinister complexity of his tale, his sense of the historical moment is strong.