The White Gallows Professor Rob Kitchin's second foray into crime fiction writing has used part of my review of his debut The Rule Book inside the front cover including.......
"This was a very promising first crime novel."
Has this promise been sustained in The White Gallows? In my opinion yes, and The White Gallows is gripping entertainment.
Detective Superintendent Colm McEvoy has several cases to deal with, including the death of Albert Koch, a very elderly German billionaire, who entered Ireland just after the Second World War. Koch's brother Frank had been shot down and interned for the duration, and Albert, a chemist, had come to join him. They both married Irish women and built successful businesses, in Albert's case making him one of the richest men in the country.
McEvoy tries to juggle the investigation of the murder of an anonymous youth, the search for a confidence trickster, advising on the suspected murder of a wife by her husband and girl friend, with his family life as a single parent to his daughter Gemma. He knows he does not spend enough time with Gemma, and now there is a memorial service to be arranged for his beloved wife Maggie in a week when all hell is breaking loose.
A very seriously injured colleague, a difficult superior officer, and Albert Koch's rich influential uncooperative family lead by his daughter Marion D'Arcy, add to his difficulties and his exhaustion.
When the investigation of Albert Koch's past raises more questions, and provides even more suspects, Colm McEvoy has to struggle to draw on his last reserves of strength.
This is a fine example of a police procedural in which an accurate picture of how an over stressed and underfunded force copes with an explosion of crime in Ireland's post Celtic Tiger economy. Rob Kitchin authors a story that features both a large cast of characters, and a frenetic pace as the investigation takes place over the course of one week. His writing has a clarity and honesty about the enormous stresses of police work, and the effect this has on normal family life.
Like most good crime fiction Rob Kitchin educates his readers as well as entertaining them as we learn details about Ireland's limited involvement in the Second World War, and more facts about the Holocaust.
This series is definitely going from strength to strength, and in Colm McEvoy Rob Kitchin has created an interesting and vulnerable protagonist. I definitely want to find out how his life, and that of his daughter Gemma turns out. Hopefully there will be a book three in the series.
'This is a photo of SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny...........He lead a crack SS division. Rescued Mussolini from an Italian mountain top..........
.....This photo. was taken in Portmanock in 1957.'
'Is that ...' McEvoy said trailing off, his brow furrowing.
'Charles Haughey,' Stringer confirmed, naming the future leader of the country. 'And in the background?'
The little elderly Irish ladies at Mrs C's church would not be at all surprised at this meeting between a former SS officer and a future Irish Taoiseach, as one word describes their opinion of the politicians in the country of their birth.