The Yard is a fictionalized account of Scotland Yard’s “Murder Squad,” created by the real Sir Edward Bradford (who was Police Commissioner in London in the 1890s). It takes place shortly after the Jack the Ripper murders, when the police and the people are unsettled by the unsolved crimes. The arrival of a new inspector to the squad gives the author the excuse to introduce the many characters and fully explain the circumstances. The Yard opens with the finding of the body of one of the squad’s inspectors inside a black steamer trunk.
On the whole, I enjoyed The Yard. I was a bit confused by the many characters and the multiple plot threads, but the writing and the character development kept me going. The story contains elements of humor, and interesting relationships develop. Occasional flashbacks fill in our understanding of people and circumstances.
If you enjoy historical mysteries like those written by Anne Perry and Victoria Thompson, you will probably enjoy The Yard . (I read an advance release copy of The Yard. It is scheduled to be published in May 2012.)