Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5)

By Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: 4 stars

Two children have gone missing, somewhere in the country. There’s no obvious magical involvement, but just to be sure, PC Peter Grant goes up to have a look. And being Peter, can’t help getting involved. First just with family liaison and then, once things start getting weirder, more centrally.

This book takes Peter Grant out of his comfort zone, out of London (something that, speaking as a non-Londoner, they could all do with, once in a while). As one of the other reviews here says, it feels very much like a holding book. A chance for everyone to catch their breath before plunging on to whatever comes next. That’s not a criticism, far from it. Aaronovitch is an excellent writer, and Peter Grant’s narrative voice could keep me entertained for much longer than just this volume. The geek references, the police chatter, it’s all present and correct, and very readable. What’s missing is the usual crowd. Peter is isolated here; apart from some phone calls from Nightingale and Walid (and Lesley!) none of the usual supporting cast turn up, which makes our protagonist feel all the more vulnerable.

The wizarding world is expanded a bit here too, with retired wizard Hugh Oswald hinting about more of them around and providing some more background into Ettersberg. And we finally get a little bit more information about Molly as well, who hasn’t really had much attention since Rivers of London.

What lets the book down a bit is the ending. It’s going great and then you suddenly realise that there’s not much book left and wonder how all the plot strands are going to be wrapped up. In a phrase: they aren’t. So much is left hanging that it really doesn’t feel like there’s any resolution, which leaves me feeling frustrated. Even just another chapter at the end where Nightingale turns up and provides some exposition would have helped.

I’ll still definitely read the next book (and the one after that, I dare say) but I think I’ll start borrowing them from the library now.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575132504
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2014

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