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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Vice Society by James McCreet



The pleasures of the unknown city

CCTV cameras now see virtually everything we do in public. Our web footprint is recorded through IP addresses and cookies. Our spending patterns are logged in vast computer systems. Each of our identities is a mass of ever-accumulating data that maps our existence more comprehensively than any biography could.

So imagine a time and a culture in which even a man’s name was unreliable. People could appear and vanish at will, changing identities as easily as they changed their clothes. Photography was in its earliest infancy – an expensive and arcane pseudo-science seen by most people as a fad.

Now imagine you’re a detective standing in a city of two million souls. You’re looking for a villain whose name is unsure, whose whereabouts are hearsay, whose associates are too afraid to say a word about him. Where do you begin? How do you navigate a city changing so quickly that maps are changing faster than they can be printed?

This is the essential premise behind my Victorian crime thrillers.

London in the 1840s straddled historical eras – caught mid-stride between Elizabethan squalour and the industrial miracles of the steam age. Criminals were more modern; crimes were as black as the unchanging immorality of city dwellers since the beginning of time.

In such a place, the detectives had to choose whether to take the path of justice and honour, or to resort to the methods of their quarry. My books present a suite of investigators – good and bad – who take distinctive routes to the solution. Inspector Albert Newsome plays the game by his own rules, whereas George Williamson is a man of principle. For Noah Dyson, self-preservation is the first priority, while ex-constable John Cullen dreams of a place in the lauded Detective Force.

I love trawling through archives for forgotten facts. I love the crime genre. Most of all, I love books that entertain me until the last page. If you’re the same, you might like the McCreet version of Victorian London.

http://www.jamesmccreet.co.uk/




3 comments:

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Another book to add to my to read pile, James!

Caroline Rance said...

This sounds great, and I love the cover!

Ann Weisgarber said...

James, this post pulled me right into London. I could feel the creeping fog, the slipping of people in and out of doorways, their identities hidden as they plot and plan. This is just the kind of book I love.