Line Of Sight
London, 1927. An ‘unreal city’, full of fog, and cigarette smoke, and drifting shadows… Or that’s how it seems to Frederick Rowlands, who works as a switchboard operator for a firm of City solicitors. With his sight badly damaged by shrapnel during the First World War, Fred is forced to rely on his other senses to understand what’s going on. Being a blind man in a sighted world hasn’t been easy, but with the stoicism so characteristic of his generation, he’s made a life for himself. Then something happens which threatens to destroy the safe, secure world Fred has established with his wife, Edith, and their young children. A call comes into the office from beautiful socialite, Lady Celia West, and – against his better judgement – Fred finds himself beguiled. Soon, he is ‘listening-in’ to more and more of Celia’s calls to her lover, Gerald Willoughby – who is also Fred’s boss, and former commanding officer. The illicit nature of what Fred is doing – and the fact that the calls are themselves clandestine – only adds to the excitement of being, however briefly, caught up in a more elegant and sophisticated world. Then a man is murdered, and things grow very much darker. Will Fred confess what he has overheard to the police – or will he risk everything, to protect the woman he loves…
Line of Sight is the first in a proposed series of detective stories set in late 1920s London and featuring Frederick Rowlands, the ‘Blind Detective’. With shades of Hitchcock and overtones of Chandler, this is a story about secrets and lies, and about the way that the past can compromise the present. Employing the mechanisms of the classic detective story, it portrays a society deeply damaged by war, in which all certainties have been lost and nothing is as it seems.
You can buy Line of Sight direct from Arbuthnot. The paperback costs £9.95 and postage and packing is £2.55. Total cost £12.50.