The Z Murders is another British Crime Classic that has been given new life by Poisoned Pen Press. I recently reviewed many books in this genre like The Hog’s Back Mystery, Death of an Airman, Thirteen Guests and so on.
The Z Murders will thrill you and chill you to the core. Get ready to imagine how things were 100 or 200 years ago. Like a room being so pitch dark that you see nothing, but can only feel a vile presence somewhere around you. Dark streets, a dark railway platform, an isolated railway compartment with some strange companion – this book literally took me back years ago and I found it very hard to relive even my memories.
Although The Z Murders is a mystery thriller, it really revolves around a man’s fascination for a young woman, a virtual stranger he has only fleetingly seen. But he believes in her innocence and sets about risking life and limb, not to mention reputation to exonerate her.
Richard Temperly arrives in London at an unearthly hour. He seeks shelter in a nearby hotel and decides to ride it out until he can leave for his sister’s home at a respectable time. His rail carriage companion comes to the same hotel. And is soon found dead. There is a mysterious young woman, who hurries out of the hotel and disappears. The police come in, and Richard tries to hide the presence of the girl. The police find out anyway and suspect her, and Richard feels obliged to defend her.
As London is shocked by some gruesome mysterious deaths which seem to be happening for no reason at all, Richard goes around the country, trying to find a dangerous killer. The police are at his heels, and so are a few other characters.
I really loved the first part of The Z Murders, but I did not like the end. The mystery when revealed seems to common place. But you should read the book to enjoy the superior writing of the author, the kind of prose that transforms you to a different time, one you cannot fathom with the excess of technological marvels around you. The piece about the taxi drivers is pure genius.
Overall, The Z Murders, like other books in this series, is an absolute must read for mystery lovers.