A Silas Quinn Mystery, Book 5
This is the fifth Silas Quinn novel written by the author. While much of the fleshing out of Detective Quinn was done in the previous books it will not deter the reader to come across the character as he appears here. Quinn is picked up just after his previous assignment in which he was required to go under cover in a lunatic asylum in order to solve a case. He arrives back at his headquarters just at the time that England has entered the first World War. The country was in turmoil gearing up for the war with thousands of men volunteering for the army. Quinn’s previous assignment has been changed and he is put under the supervision of another detective who is depicted as incompetent for the job.
Making use of the plot of the book “The Four Feathers” by A.E.W. Mason, Morris sets up the handing out of white feathers to men not in the uniform of their country and deemed cowards during the opening period of WWI. A young girl is found murdered and a white feather is found set into her mouth. Quinn’s new supervisor is shown to be incompetent when he arrests a butcher, innocent of the crime but having a German parent. The man is placed in prison and subject to extremely harsh conditions until Quinn manages to get himself involved as supervisor to the case.
The novel becomes involved with the solving of the crime working within the turmoil of the first two months of WWI. The description of the period shows a great deal of research with several factors built into the novel. There is first, the use of taking fingerprints, a science only a few years old. There is also the introduction of Vernon Kell who is credited with the founding of MI6. Kell notes the fine detective work by Silas Quinn and will probably take a more active role in future novels featuring him.
The writing style does not lend itself to grabbing on and finishing it in one read, but is sufficiently interesting to make it an attractive draw and a well done portrait of detective work in a setting 100 years before our time.
8/19 Paul Lane
THE WHITE FEATHER KILLER by R. N. Morris. Severn House Publishers; First World Publication edition (August 1, 2019). ISBN 978-0727888853. 288p.