Dark Mirror by Barry Maitland

A quick rundown…#10 of the DCI Brock and DI Kolla mysteries; a murder in the London library by arsenic has everyone on alert.

Strengths: Great twists and turns in the mystery will leave you guessing as to who the killer is.

Weaknesses: I always race through any Barry Maitland book – my only complaint is that not all books in the series are in print.

Why I read it: Love Barry Maitland’s books

Pages: 320

Published: 2009

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Setting: London

Rating: 9 out of 10

If you liked this, try: Other books in the series (which can be read in any order), such as Babel
and The Marx Sisters.


I always look forward to reading a Brock and Kolla mystery; Barry Maitland always has a well thought out plot with many twists and turns. By now, I’m familiar with the two main characters (DCI David Brock and DI Kathy Kolla) but the new characters are always a treat to read. Dark Mirror is no exception. Maitland has created some great characters – from the murdered Miriam, whose life we learn about after her death to the suspects in her murder, such as her university lecturer. Maitland also creates a more unusual form of murder than your standard ‘in the library with a dagger’ – this time the murder is in the library (the London Library to be exact) but Miriam is poisoned by arsenic. Who did it? Was it the fellow library goer who took surreptitious pictures of her with his phone, her lover or her lecturer, who she was planning to expose?

You may think that the plot and the suspects is starting to sound a bit convoluted, but Maitland is an expert at not confusing the reader, but not dumbing it down either. Each character is painted with so much attention to detail that you won’t forget them. This is true of Brock and Kolla’s colleagues in the police force too. I find that some detective series suffer from ‘faceless’ sidekicks- those who have no defining features to retain them in your mind – but this isn’t so in this series. From the junior staff to the forensics, each new and recurring character is memorable, whether it be for their never-ending eagerness or intimate knowledge of arsenic poisoning.

Maitland’s books are always a page turner and Dark Mirror is no exception. This is a mystery on a higher plane than others in the genre. It’s detailed and beautifully styled. I’m looking forward to reading the latest book in the series, Chelsea Mansions, soon.

3 thoughts on “Dark Mirror by Barry Maitland

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  1. I really enjoyed Dark Mirror as well. I have just managed to track down The Marx Sisters so that will be on the reading list next! Chelsea Mansions is pretty good too.

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