Today it’s my turn on the tour for Malcolm Hollingdrake’s latest novel, “Dying Art”.
About the book:
Following his recovery from a personal and professional trauma, Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett has been declared medically fit to resume his police duties. He returns to discover a complex case involving the art world.
Soon Bennett unearths a dark side of the industry where greed, ambition and dubious practices thrive and, where there is money to be made, violence and murder are never far away.
Working their way through a maze of galleries, museums and the internet, Bennett’s team struggles to make sense of the evidence.
Can Bennett tell the difference between what is real and what is fake?
This is the 5th in the Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett series.
The story opens with DCI Bennett still waiting to be signed back to work duties. It follows the last part of his recovery following the murder of one of his colleagues in the previous novel. He’s well on the road to recovery. In the meantime, the rest of the team are called to what appears to be a hit and run, and a missing employee of an art dealers.
One of DCI Bennett’s passions happens to be art. He attends an opening of a new gallery owned by a friend of his. Later that night some of the art work is stolen.
This sees the start of a very complex case as DCI Bennett returns to work. Are the three mysteries connected?
This is the first Bennett book I’ve read, and I was told it would read fine as a stand alone. Unfortunately I felt that I’d missed out on a lot and struggled to remember who was who. There were no particular stand out characters for me, with the exception of the temporary boss drafted in to help until Bennett’s return. I also felt that because there was a lot of hangover from the previous novel – the murder of a colleague – you really need to start at least at book 4.
In terms of the plot, I felt it was a little over complicated – although enjoyable. I did need to reread things several times in order to keep up! Malcolm Hollingdrake clearly loves his art! Whilst not a thriller, it certainly had me engrossed.
My favourite thing about the book was the sense of place. I have been to Harrogate a good few times over the years, and could definitely picture the scenes as described.
I would be prepared to read another book by Malcolm Hollingdrake, I would certainly go back to the beginning of the series though!
I gave this a 2* rating.
*Thanks to Sarah Hardy and the team at Bloodhound Books for providing me with the book for free in exchange for an honest review*
About the Author:
You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.
Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.
Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.
Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.