The Amateur Historian: A Thriller
Book: The Amateur Historian: A Thriller , by Julian Cole, ISBN10: 0312586590, ISBN13: 9780312586591, St. Martin's Press, June 2010, Hardcover
JULIAN COLE is a journalist and columnist with The Evening Press. He spent three years writing and researching The Amateur Historian, his first novel.
“Punchy and raw, a blend of hard-boiled old school and new bloody thriller. . . crime at its best.” —Waterstone’s (UK)
Rick Rounder returns to his hometown a decade after failing to save a young girl from her suicidal father. He sets up as a private eye, much to the envy of his policeman brother Sam, who has risen up the ranks to chief. The two brothers square up across the sibling divide as they are both drawn into the case of a missing girl.
But the case gets more complicated as Rick’s past catches up with him, and the only clues that the brothers have, relate to a girl who lived—and died—in poverty one hundred years ago. The amateur historian has one last lesson to teach.
The grim fates of two girls separated by more than a century entwine in bizarre fashion in Cole’s ambitious debut, the first in a projected series. More than a century after nine-year-old Esme Percy dies in wretched, Dickensian squalor in 1901 in the ancient English city of York, eight-year-old Polly Markham, the child of well-off parents, is kidnapped in the same city. Two brothers, Rick Rounder, an ex-Yorkshire policeman recently returned to York and now a PI, and his older brother, Sam, York’s chief investigator, play major roles in deciphering the complex abduction case. Rick’s new career gets off to a rocky start as he shadows a straying wife and her paramour, while Sam’s troubled marriage and corpulence make him look and feel older than his 40 or so years. A devilishly complicated plot and the intriguingly mismatched brothers more than compensate for the overwrought descriptions of poverty-stricken York of an earlier era. (June)
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