Sunday, September 26, 2021

"Brass Lives"

Chris Nickson is the author of Brass Lives and eight previous Tom Harper mysteries, seven highly acclaimed novels in the Richard Nottingham series, and two Simon Westow mysteries. He is also a well-known music journalist. He lives in his beloved Leeds.

Nickson applied the Page 69 Test to Brass Lives and reported the following:
Page 69 of Brass Lives is the tail end of one scene at Millgarth police station in Leeds, with Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper talking to some of the detectives there, and the start of another scene where he’s conferring with the chief constable.

At one point he makes a note and pins it on the wall, a summary of the questions on the case that still need answering:

Fess murder


Metropole shooting

Barracks robbery

Does the page give a good indication of the book? Honestly, no. It’s two short bits that doesn’t even tell much about the characters, let alone the plot. In many ways, the book is a fantasy: not genre (it’s historical crime), but about someone who went from Leeds to New York as a child and became a well-known gangster, a killer, and returned. Davey Mullen, as he’s known in the book, is based on Owen Madden, who was known, loved and feared in equal measure in New York. A gangster who survived so much and went in to live a long life, dying peacefully, an achievement in itself in that business. Unlike Davey, Owen never did come back to Leeds, but the idea of what if was very appealing…and set in 1913, with the Great War a year away yet largely unexpected makes it a time on the cusp of huge changes, while people, including Harper’s own daughter, are making plans for the future. Harper himself has risen higher than he’d ever expected, now in what’s mostly a desk job and missing being a real policeman, chafing under the bonds of high office. But not all the changes are for the good (no spoilers on that part).
Visit Chris Nickson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Constant Lovers.

The Page 69 Test: The Iron Water.

The Page 69 Test: The Hanging Psalm.

Q&A with Chris Nickson.

The Page 69 Test: The Molten City.

Writers Read: Chris Nickson.

--Marshal Zeringue