“I am Lobby Lud and I claim the fucking reward” aptly summarizes the relief we feel when Fitz corners serial killer Hennessy in a narrow train carriage, swinging him around to save his wife and child from them. If ever a novel can be said to climax at a particular point, that was it for me. What can I say? This is great crime fiction, with an unwilling protagonist who uncannily homes in on all your flaws within a few minutes of meeting you. I’m referring to psychologist Dr. Edward Fitzgerald, or Fitz as he’s referred to in Jimmy McGovern and Jim Mortimore‘s The Mad Woman in the Attic.
Fitz is a glowering hulk of a man, a forensic psychologist of no mean skill. One of his students is brutally murdered and he is unofficially brought into the case (aren’t they always?) at the behest of the grieving parents. Fitz reminds me of Rebus a little, except that he baits people in a far more obvious manner. He’s offset by officer Jane Penhaligon (whose name jars on my ears and should really be Penhaglion, which is more mellifluous). But who am I to suggest names for characters in a book not of my creating? The book is not slow, with the sole suspect being an amnesiac of some education and learning. He cannot remember his own name but can conjugate Latin verbs effortlessly. Fitz and Panhandle, as she’s known by all comb the streets, following clues and trying to prove the amnesiac’s innocence.
A book that’s quite by-the-numbers when it comes to plot arcs, but still effortlessly manages to entertain. I look forward to reading the other two books in the series.