Book 19 – The File on John Ormond by J.D. Mallinson

I think this book falls under the detective fiction category known as police procedural. Anyhow, I brought it home from the library out of curiosity and it was a pleasant enough read, though not without its oddities.

Set in the 1980’s, An English detective travels in winter to Helsinki to investigate the case of a missing Englishman and an important samizdat manuscript from the Soviet Union. SPOILER He finds them.

I quite enjoyed the story, also the setting which involved, saunas, the tasting of elk stew and a spot of cross-country skiiing. But the characterisation was fairly flat and there were a couple of aspects of the book that puzzled me. The first was that the novel was set during the cold war era, but published in 2007. So it didn’t really work as contemporary fiction and the passage of less than 30 years is a little short to make it an interesting historical work.  The other problem was that the novel came across as if written by an American, the language was certainly very Americanised (stores instead of shops, referenced Boddingtons as a classic English real ale and other basic errors).

I just couldn’t get my head around why an Amercian would write about an English detective in Finland nearly 30 years ago, so I looked the author up and it turns out that he is English, a retired teacher who moved to the States some years ago.


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Filed under 2013, Mystery / Crime

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