A fresh and thoroughly enjoyed old fashioned detective novel with a fresh and contemporary feel set in North London is how I’d describe The House of Fame. With striped back prose and a likable character. He is a man of contradictions who fights crime, isn’t afraid to break the law in the process but one whom you are routing for when the going gets tough.
Not only set in North London, the story moves mainly around Camden and Kentish Town with the occasionally trip to Willesden Green Library as Belsey tries to discover exactly why people with no obvious connection are being murdered.
Amber Knight is London’s hottest ticket – pop star, film star, front-page, gossip. Nick Belsey is less celebrated. He can’t shake his habit of getting into serious trouble. His career at Hampstead CID is coming to a dishonourable end. He is currently of no fixed address. But a knock on the door is about to lead Belsey straight into the hollow heart of Amber’s glittering life – a world populated by the glamorous and the lonely, the desperate and the obsessed.
The beauty of Harris’s writing is that this is a step away from the shock and horror of brutal murders that many crime novels today feel is needed to keep the reader engaged. Every word has its place that are a joy to read and his writing will appeal even if you don’t ordinarily read crime fiction.
I have now bought the two other novels Oliver Harris as I want to know more about DI Nick Belsey.