Michael Russell ‘The City of Shadows’

This book was recommended by ‘Your favourite metallurgist’ 20 days ago.
I had never heard of either the author or the title so I did my homework, the book is part of a planned trilogy of which the first two volumes have been published, this City of Shadows and the City of Strangers

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Both books have been short listed for the crime writers association endeavour historical dagger. The city of Shadows is set between Ireland and Danzig in the early to mid 1930’s.

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What are the historical links between these places? Well first of all the Irish Republic and the Free City of Danzig both dated from the early 1920’s, extreme right wing politics as the answer to communism and it’s threat to religion in Ireland in the post civil war years is compared with the struggle in Danzig for and against Nazism. Secondly two major historical figures fighting Nazism in Danzig (the League of Nation’s high commissioner and the Bishop of Danzig) were Irish.

The story deeply involves the church and bigotry with a Protestant police officer fighting against the church and his hierarchy to solve the two murders at the heart of the story. No story set in this time would be complete without the Addressing the difficulty facing the Jewish peoples and one of the two major protagonists is an Irish Jewess.

The story is historically interesting and moves forward at a pace commensurate with the mostly rural Ireland of the thirties but keeping the readers attention. All lose ends are tidied up although not all is made public.

I certainly enjoyed this book and will read the second next year sometime.

 

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