Friday, 29 June 2012

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

This is the sequel to Rivers of London which I thoroughly enjoyed last year. The hero is Peter Grant, who is a constable with the Metropolitan Police in London. He is a trainee at The Folly, the department which deals with magic. He is in fact the first trainee wizard there in fifty years. Grant's superior officer, Inspector Nightingale is still recovering from injuries sustained in Rivers of London so Grant has a lot more responsibility on his shoulders. The case he is investigating concerns the deaths of several jazz musicians. All are perfectly healthy men who die suddenly, apparently of natural causes. But Peter senses that there is something magical involved. His training includes learning to sense the 'vestigia'.

Vestigia is the imprint magic leaves on physical objects. It's a lot like a sense impression, like the memory of a smell or a sound you once heard. You've probably felt it a hundred times a day, but it all gets mixed up with memories, daydreams and even smells you're smelling and sounds you're hearing.

Peter can sense the vestigia in this case, and it gives a strong impression of the jazz standard Body and Soul, which was popular in the 1930s.

While Peter is investigating this case something else mysterious is happening. There seems to be another wizard at work in London. Nightingale was sure that there were no practising wizards left in England apart from himself and Peter - so who is this man and who trained him?

I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed Rivers of London. I feel like I'm getting to know the characters better. Dr Walid ('world-renowned gastroenterologist, cryptopathologist and practicing Scot') plays a bigger role here. There are a couple of genuinely creepy parts, for example the gangster whose disembodied head is kept conscious as part of a fairground attraction. Ben Aaronovitch obviously loves London and this comes through in the writing. It reminds me a bit in that respect of Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May series, and in fact I think that anyone who enjoys those books would also enjoy these.


  1. I love mysteries and especially ones that are set in England. I will have to check this one out. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  2. Sunday, if you like a bit of magic thrown in with your mysteries I would give these a try! Start with Rivers of London, though, to get introduced to the characters.