Wednesday, March 23, 2016


This Thing of Darkness by Harry Bingham

Welsh Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths is an interesting character. She suffers from Cotard's Syndrome, a form of mental illness. She often disassociates, feels as if she is in darkness, as if she is dead.

To top that off, Fiona is a brilliant detective who seldom follows the rules. Her superiors threaten to fire her, and they mean it. They are trying to make her fit into the Detective Constable mode.

To keep Fiona busy, they assign her to catalog evidence in an evidence-heavy case. They also ask her to look over several cold cases.

She fills one wall of her office with pictures of the murder victims in the crimes she investigates. She adds victims from past crimes she has investigated or solved.

Among the present cases are an apparent accident, a man fell from a high cliff; an apparent suicide; and a high climbing burglar who stole a huge Teddy bear. Fiona finds a connection between the three cases. Then she finds a financial conspiracy which would involve stealing hundreds of millions of dollars.

This Thing of Darkness ends with Fiona on a sinking ship in the high seas. Earlier in the story, she had been captured and tortured. Along the way, she has learned that what is happening ties in with earlier cases and with her father.

This book relates to the three earlier Fiona Griffiths books. Because this is the first Fiona Griffiths novel I have read, there were parts I didn't fully understand.

But I understood how important her job is to Fiona. I understood how she works to solve the cases no matter what she has to do. And I understood how her Cotard's affects her , how she sometimes looks at what is happening from above or from an almost death-like state.

This Thing of Darkness is an excellent police procedural.

I've bought the first three books. I plan to get to know more about Fiona Griffiths.


Cathy said...

I am so glad you've met Fiona. She is one of the absolute best characters in crime fiction today.

Joe Barone said...

Cathy, I've bought the other Fiona books. I expect I probably came to her by reading your blog along the way. I am always thankful for "Kittling: Books" because your recommendations fit me to a tea.

John said...

There was a Canadian TV show called SHATTERED with a detective with dissociative identity disorder. It was broadcast back in 2010. Not sure if there's a DVD set out. Of course the lead was male not female. This idea intrigues me and I'd like to check out these books. Thanks for the review.

Joe Barone said...

John, You are welcome. I found this book well worth the reading.

Cathy said...

It's always wonderful to find people with whom I share reading DNA. I've noticed how we tend to like the same books, so I check over here to see if you've come across any gems that I might enjoy.