Hardcastle's Mandarin

It is June 1917.  DDI Ernest Hardcastle, head of the CID for the A or Whitehall Division of the Metropolitan Police, is called to investigate the murder of a very senior civil servant, Sir Nigel Strang, in his office.

Given that Sir Nigel is the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Munitions, Hardcastle wonders whether the German Intelligence Service might be responsible.  Then another murder, of a man on a bus near Scotland Yard, leads Hardcastle to a woman working at Woolwich Arsenal who is suspected of passing information to the enemy.  But is there a connection?

In the course of a convoluted investigation, Hardcastle, aided by Detective Sergeant Charles Marriott, interrogates a ministry custodian, a cleaning lady, several of Sir Nigel’s paramours, two prostitutes and their pimp, and army deserters.  Despite some false leads, the killer is eventually unmasked.

© Graham Ison 2017