My review of “The Reluctant Detective” by Sinclair Mcleod

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Reluctant Detective” by Sinclair Mcleod (@sinclairmacleod), the first book in a series featuring private investigator Craig Campbell  (see Mr. Mcleod’s blog here).

I’ve made no secret in the past of my love for British mysteries available to us Yanks by PBS or on DVD, and this book is very much in that tradition. There are great characters, plot twists and red herrings, smart dialogue and a wonderful setting that compliments the story.

The book starts with a woman approaching Campbell to ask for his help in determining her son’s death was not the accident it was labeled by the police. Campbell is an insurance investigator, meaning his workload is debunking and occasionally confirming the validity of claims, but he agrees to help the grieving mother. If nothing else, he reasons, he’ll set her mind to rest by confirming the events as true and returning the money advanced to him.

But even a cursory glance at the facts makes Campbell uneasy: the dead son was a confirmed teetotaler, but was found with alcohol in his system. A police officer friend looks at the case and agrees the decision may have been hasty. And things really begin to crackle as Campbell delves into the dead man’s workplace.

As always, no spoilers from me, but the plot moves along at a good pace and there are a few well-conceived twists along the way, including a great one at the end, to keep the reader on his or her toes. The setting is wintertime Glasgow, Scotland, which makes a fine backdrop for the action, and Mcleod gives the reader a guided tour of the city and its population.

Although “The Reluctant Detective” stands well enough on its own, I’m pleased to see Mr. Mcleod has followed up with two more mysteries featuring Craig Campbell. My To-Read List grows again as I’m adding them post-haste. I highly recommend “The Reluctant Detective” to anyone looking for a good mystery with interesting characters and a great location.


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