The Marx Sisters is the first of the Brock/Kolla mysteries and one of the more difficult for me to track down. I finally located a copy in Kinokuniya, Sydney but discovered more recently that most of the series is available as e-books.
If you’re familiar with the series (I only have two more books to read), you’ll know that they can be read out of order without problems (except keeping up with who Kathy is seeing). Being familiar with the more recent books in the series though, I could sense that this book was a little grittier, a little more rough around the edges but I liked that. It was a bit more graphic, a few more swear words but that didn’t bother me at all.
What was different about this book was that it was split into two parts – one for each murder of the sisters (dubbed the ‘Marx’ sisters due to their beliefs). Kathy isn’t working directly with Brock at this time, but Brock joins her investigation as an elderly lady is murdered at home in Jerusalem Lane, ‘a little piece of Dickensian London’ where the developers are about to rear their heads. Meredith’s death can’t be solved, but when her sister dies as well, more secrets about the Lane and its inhabitants are revealed. The conclusion was a nice surprise too- I didn’t suspect the murderer!
I do enjoy Barry Maitland’s books and I’ll be disappointed when I’ve read them all. They’re a well written series about homicide detectives in London, not overly gory and well thought out.
8 out of 10.