READ THIS BOOK:
BOOK REVIEW: A GREATER GOD
A Greater God (Superintendent Le Fanu Mysteries Book 4)
Author: Brian Stoddart
Muslims are being murdered and communal tensions escalating
as Superintendent Chris Le Fanu returns, reluctantly, to 1920s
Madras from the Straits Settlements. He comes under fire, literally
and figuratively, as more Muslims and policemen are killed by
revolutionaries in clashes fomented by his boss, Inspector-General
Arthur ‘The Jockey’ Jepson.
As the riots spread, Le Fanu’s trusted assistants – Mohammad
Habibullah and Jackson Caldicott – disagree on both the origins
and the handling of this new crisis. Le Fanu becomes further
isolated as his only government allies, the Governor and the Chief
Secretary, are being transferred away from Madras.
Even more pressure bears in on him when former housekeeper
and lover, Ro McPhedren, falls critically ill in Hyderabad, and
Jenlin Koh, his new love, is listed among those aboard a ship
missing en route to India.
Le Fanu’s entire professional and personal future is at risk as
he confronts these challenges while Britain’s grip on India wavers.
- Publisher: Selkirk Books (November 30, 2018)
- Publication Date: November 30, 2018
- Print Length: 295 pages
- ASIN: B07J6GJWB9
I highly recommend A Greater God. Click on the book’s cover above to go to Amazon and get the Kindle Edition right now.
The greatest compliment I can give Brian Stoddart and his newest (The 4th) La Fanu mystery is to say I’ve gone back and purchased the first three.
I’m excited to learn more about his protagonist and to enjoy more tightly woven and compelling stories.
I’ve found a new author whose books I will anxiously await. (Pretentious working on the reviewer’s part?)
First, Some General Praise And Observations
The prose of Stoddart’s tome (pretentious word choice on my part?) is crisp, while at the same time layered with emotion and subtext. The plot is intricate yet accessible, the heightening tension keeping the reader turning pages to find out what happens next.
Stoddart’s characters are rich and complex. Nothing one dimensional here. Yes, our hero, La Fanu is fleshed out with all his good qualities and flaws. But what impressed more was the depth of the supporting characters. And I hesitate to use the word “supporting” in referencing other dramatis personae. (Chandler Bing: Could Ray be more pretentious?) Jenlin Koh, La Fanu’s new love interest, struck me as more than worthy of her own mystery.
Mr. Stoddart is a learned man. A polymath. (Ha! Look that one up!)
His bio on Amazon lists two of his several previous occupations as “academic” and “broadcaster.” Impressive he has such a varied and deep skillset. This is a quote from his bio: “He has written extensively on sports history, politics and culture as well as on India and south Asia in which field he completed his PhD.”
Mr. Stoddart’s wide range of knowledge gives A Greater God a genuineness not always found in period mysteries. He easily immerses his reader in the culture, sights, sounds, and smells of Madras of the 1920’s. I found myself right there with Superintendent Chris Le Fanu as he traversed the local geography while encountering the city’s residents.
While the intrigue of the storyline is enough to make A Greater God a popular page turner, Stoddart’s deft handling of the emotional components of the story elevates this above the typical series mystery. Le Funa’s inner struggle as his former lover stuck by illness while his new relationship begs to grow and prosper is a dexterous and accomplished subplot. Stoddart could easily conquer the period romance as well or better as he has the period mystery.
The relationships between Le Funa and his butthead of a boss (Butthead? There’s the Ray we all know and love.) along with his assistants are just more examples of Stoddart’s understanding of the unpredictable labyrinth of human relationships.
This is, of course, a glowing review. I wonder if I should add a shortcoming or too to keep from sounding like a shill for Stoddart’s publishing company, but whatever shortcomings there may be in the story and character development are not worth mentioning.
Please make time to read this page turner. You’ll be transported to a new and different world. The characters will be your new friends. And you’ll experience a wide variety of feels – as the kids say – that will imprint on your memory, keeping this book at the forefront of your thoughts until we’re treated to book 5 in the series.
Please follow me on all the social media thingys below:
I think on all of them I’m @draysbooks
I have a Tumbler, but it’s filled with dirty stuff.
About D. Ray Thomas