CAST IRON

QUERCUS OUT 12 JAN­UARY

Crime Scene - - POST MORTEM - BY PETER MAY By JAKE KER­RIDGE

Back in 2006, May’s novel Ex­tra­or­di­nary Peo­ple in­tro­duced Enzo Ma­cleod, a lion-maned, Ital­ian-scot­tish hippy and se­rial la­dykiller who’s also a bril­liant foren­sic sci­en­tist and lec­turer at a French univer­sity. That novel saw Ma­cleod make a drunken bet with a jour­nal­ist who had pub­lished a book about un­solved Gal­lic mur­ders, vow­ing to get to the bot­tom of all of these baf­fling cases. Af­ter five nov­els, May put the Enzo Ma­cleod nov­els on the back burner, as he emerged from the pub­lish­ing mid-list with his hugely suc­cess­ful Lewis Tril­ogy, which is set in the Outer He­brides. May now takes us back to France for the sixth and fi­nal out­ing for Ma­cleod, wherein we fi­nally get to dis­cover whether he’ll win that bet — al­though Enzo’s more wor­ried about track­ing down who­ever’s try­ing to sab­o­tage his in­ves­ti­ga­tion by kid­nap­ping his daugh­ter.

Part of the ap­peal of these books is May’s pil­ing on of guide­book-wor­thy de­tail – few read­ers will com­plain when he has Enzo, for in­stance, stop­ping to note that the Château Duras once had its own bak­ery, even as he’s be­ing chased by two nasty fel­lows with guns. Cast Iron may never de­vi­ate far from the tra­di­tional crime fic­tion tem­plate, but it is ex­tremely well done.

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