|About the Book|
SUMMARY:Inspector Morse meets the Time Travellers Wife with a hint of Grand Designs. But without the actual in-plot benefits of inexplicable time travel, a love interest or Kevin McCloud.THE LONG-WINDED VERSION:Ah London, the Big Smoke, the Great Wen, the sunken, scum-ridden, grease-spotted, pitted underbelly of the Old World. New York is referred to as the Big Apple, which implies shiny, fresh-ripened juiciness. If London was a fruit it would probably be that odd-looking stinky one that comes from Cambodia, whatsitcalled? Ah the Durian (thanks Google).Peter Ackroyd knows a lot about London and all of his books revolve around creating diverting Poe-esque tales of ghostly mystery and imagination. Stories which he then dresses with his frankly encyclopaedic knowledge of Londons social history and development. Theres not a nook, cranny, wient or alley which Ackroyd doesnt know about and that is part of the joy of his writing.So, two intertwining tale of black magic, murder and devilment set amongst the hallowed cloisters of the greatest churches in London. Evil from the past echoes through the ages (frequently in the format of ye-oldy-worldy English) and the hidden signs and symbols of architect Nicholas Dyer act as a conduit to the future and Detective Nick Hawksmoor who is somewhere in the 20th century trying to clean up modern murders in the same churches. Dyer is based on the 17th century Nicholas Hawksmoor who was a real chap and as the go-to-guy behind Christopher Wrens work was commissioned in 1711 to design 6 churches- St Alfeges, Greenwich- St Georges, Bloomsbury- St Mary Woolnoth, St Georges East Wapping- St Annes at Limehouse and most famously, Christchurch Spitalfields.Ackroyd has obviously performed a historical switcheroo by naming his modern day protagonist and detective, Nicholas Hawksmoor thus continuing that echoes through eternity theme. Uh huh, I like what you did there. Obviously there is no real evidence that Hawksmoor was a devil worshipper who cunningly hid satanic squigglings in these churches, however that will not stop a bunch of overwrought historical scholars suggesting such things and cheerfully it was this nonsense which inspired Ackroyd to write what is, in my opinion, a damn fine read. *Applause* for Mr Ackroyd.