Grim, gritty and plausible

2012-10-17 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

A Private Business

Barbara Nadel

Quercus

 

BARBARA Nadel is the creator of the long-running and delightful Inspector Ikmen series of crime novels, set in Istanbul and unpacking the layers of that most atmospheric and beguiling of cities.

Here, however, she turns her attention to London in what is apparently the first of a new series. But not the whole of London, and not what the tourists see.

A Private Business is set in the tough old East End, at the time of the novel being ruthlessly tidied up to host the Olympic Games. And although the Games seem to have been a success, here we see the run-up and the deeply cynical attitudes of those who are watching their familiar streets being changed.

Among the most cynical is ex-cop turned private investigator, Lee Arnold. Mind you, he’s pretty cynical about everything, not just the Olympic development. Less so is his assistant, Muslim widow Mumtaz Hakim, by far the most appealing character in the book.

Lee and Mumtaz are hired by a foul-mouthed female stand-up comic who is trying to make a comeback after years off the circuit, but who is afraid she is being stalked.

She has also become involved with a very fringe evangelical church, of which there seem to be several operating in the area, some popular with Zimbabwean exiles.

There is a lot going on in this book — the maybe stalker, the extremely dubious pastors of various of the cultish churches, the Zimbabwean connection, Mumtaz and Lee’s personal problems, the police investigation into a man dubbed “the Olympic flasher”, and the violent riots that took place in Britain last year.

Nadel doesn’t always manage a seamless link between the various plot strands, but even if her characters and setting lack the charm of Ikmen’s Istanbul, this grim and gritty tale is a plausible and interesting thriller.

 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.