London, 1920: Boston-bred Enoch Hale, working as a reporter for the Central News Syndicate, arrives on the scene shortly after a music-hall escape artist is found hanging from the ceiling in his dressing room. What at first appears to be a suicide turns out to be murder...the first of several using the same modus operandi. What's the connecting factor among all the victims? Or isn't there one? That's what the dogged journalist Hale aims to find out. Covering the Hangman Murders brings him into contact with a diverse cast of witnesses and interview subjects that include Winston Churchill, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ezra Pound. Hale, whose best friend in London is the chain-smoking poet and banker T.S. (Tom) Eliot even makes a pilgrimage to the Sussex Downs to get an opinion on the case from the great detective Sherlock Holmes. The trip is in vain, but he eventually does meet Holmes in a most surprising encounter. Through it all there is another mystery, which perhaps goes to the mystery of the human heart. What is the lovely music-hall singer Sadie Briggs concealing from Hale - just her past or also her present?
What did you like most about The Amateur Executioner?
I really liked the idea of having factual characters from history rubbing shoulders with the fictional. I thought the Authors handled that really well
What other book might you compare The Amateur Executioner to, and why?
As it has a lot of characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories, including the man himself, I guess it joins the ranks of Sherlock fiction out there.
Would you listen to another book narrated by Martyn Clements?
I'm afraid not. He has to be one of the worst narrators I've ever heard. A robot could have read with more expression and the man can't do accents to save his life. It says something for the book that I was able to keep listening in spite of him.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
It's not that type of story.
Any additional comments?
This was a really great idea and I liked the tongue-in-cheek way it was written, but the revilations at the end just didn't make sense to me and the narrator was dreadful, so all in all, a disappointing read.