- A Death in Bloomsbury, by David C. Dawson
A Death in Bloomsbury, by David C. Dawson
1932, London. Late one December night Simon Sampson stumbles across the body of a woman in an alleyway. Her death is linked to a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate the King on Christmas Day. Simon resolves to do his patriotic duty and unmask the traitors.
But Simon Sampson lives a double life. Not only is he a highly respected BBC radio announcer, but he’s also a man who loves men, and as such must live a secret life. His investigation risks revealing his other life and with that imprisonment under Britain’s draconian homophobic laws of the time. He faces a stark choice: his loyalty to the King or his freedom.
This is the first in a new series from award-winning author David C. Dawson. A richly atmospheric novel set in the shadowy world of 1930s London, where secrets are commonplace, and no one is quite who they seem.
There's a lot I can't mention about the plot, as it's intricate, but cleverly done, and I wouldn't want to give away any spoilers. However, I loved Simon. He wasn't the cliché know-it-all PI, or the Jessica Fletcher who just-so-happens to have friends in all the convenient places. When Simon calls on an old friend, who happens to be in a position to know about crime/the investigation, that's naturally explained by his past as a crime reporter/investigator.
The romance is sweet, but neither a primary or secondary aspect of the plot. It's more in the background, with fade-to-black scenes mentioned in passing. Still, there's nicely explored chemistry and attraction between Simon and Cameron.
The investigation itself was clever, realistically slow, with logical sources, smart clues and misheard information. I loved how every character contributed something – Simon, Bill, Cameron, and even some minor characters who were able to offer influence, information, or even assistance without even being on page, in some cases. The end revelations and surprises were well written and took me by surprise. The way Bill and Cameron ended the book were both surprising, but offered intrigue for how the rest of the series will proceed. There are so many possibilities, for what might happen next.