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A Wartime Murder Mystery.
What is the Blitz Detective series about?
After working for the BBC, then in communication, Mike Hollow became a freelance writer, editor, and creative project manager. But now, he is a full-time writer, chronicling the adventures of the Blitz Detective, a historical mystery series.
The story is set in the 1940s as Britain is hiding in the darkness of the blackout – until Hitler unleashes the terror of the Blitz. His bombs rain down, and the night skies of London are lit up by fires. They say you could read a newspaper by its light.
Life changes overnight – suddenly it seems there’s death around every corner. But murder is still murder – and bombs or no bombs, for Detective Inspector John Jago of the Metropolitan Police, the hunt for justice must go on.
How to read the Blitz Detective Books in Order?
Every book in the Blitz Detective series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- The Blitz Detective (2015, aka Direct Hit) – Saturday 7th September, 1940. The sun is shining, and in the midst of the good weather Londoners could be mistaken for forgetting their country was at war – until the familiar wail of the air-raid sirens heralds an enemy attack. The Blitz has started, and normal life has abruptly ended – but crime has not. That night a man’s body is discovered in an unmarked van in the back streets of West Ham. When Detective Inspector John Jago is called to the scene, he recognises the victim: local Justice of the Peace, Charles Villiers. The death looks suspicious, but then a German bomb obliterates all evidence. War or no war, murder is still murder, and it’s Jago’s job to find the truth.
- The Canning Town Murder (2016, aka Fifth Column) – September, 1940. As the Blitz takes its nightly toll on London and Hitler prepares his invasion fleet just across the Channel in occupied France, Britain is full of talk about enemy agents. Suspicion is at an all time high and no one is sure who can be trusted.
In Canning Town, rescue workers are unsettled when they return to a damaged street and discover a body that shouldn’t be there. When closer examination of the corpse reveals death by strangling, Detective Inspector John Jago is called upon to investigate. But few seem to really care about the woman’s death – not even her family. As Jago digs deeper he starts to uncover a trail of deception, betrayal, and romantic entanglements.
- The Custom House Murder (2017, aka Enemy Action) – September, 1940. With London having endured the Blitz for nearly a month, people are calling for vengeance, but once again the night heralds more destruction. In Custom House, anxious residents dutifully head to the nearest public air-raid shelter as the warning siren wails. When dawn brings the all-clear, people disperse, but one man remains – he is dead, stabbed through the heart. Detective Inspector John Jago discovers that the victim was a pacifist. But why, then, was he carrying a loaded revolver in his pocket?
- The Stratford Murder (2018, aka Firing Line) – October, 1940. Bombs are falling on Stratford when air-raid warden Sylvia Parks sees a house with a shining light, in clear breach of the city’s strict blackout rules. With no answer at the door she manages to break in, only to discover the body of a young woman, strangled to death with a stocking. For Detective Inspector John Jago, the scene brings back memories of the gruesome Soho Strangler, who murdered four women a few years ago but has never been caught – could there be a connection?
- The Dockland Murder (2021) – In the depths of the blackout, the silence of London’s Royal Albert Dock is broken only by the lap of inky water against the quay and the occasional scurrying of rats’ feet. A patrolling policeman is passing the newly arrived freighter SS Magnolia when something catches his eye. A man is sprawled awkwardly across a nearby barge – with an exotic-looking dagger in his back. DI Jago of West Ham CID discovers the victim was a dock worker by day and a Home Guard volunteer by night – and there are things even his wife, bombed out of their flimsy home in Silvertown, doesn’t know about his past. Who wanted to kill him?
- The Pimlico Murder (2021) – Armistice Day, 1940. The nation remembers the Great War while a new and harrowing conflict rumbles on. The Blitz Detective, John Jago, must set aside his own painful memories to investigate a suspicious death in Pimlico, south-west London. The body of a young man has been discovered in an Anderson shelter, with two white poppies in his pocket. As the investigation progresses, Jago and his assistant, DC Cradock, find themselves knee-deep in Pimlico’s shady underworld and connections with Mosley’s fascist party. It will take all their skills to uncover the truth behind the young man’s brutal death.
- The Camden Murder (2022) – November 1940. As dawn begins to break, blackout regulations are rendered pointless by a car burning fiercely near the Regent’s Canal in Camden Town, north London. In the burnt-out vehicle police find the charred remains of a body. The victim is Les Latham, a commercial traveller for the Baring and Sons confectionery company. He liked to be known as Lucky Les, but it seems his luck has finally run out. Detective Inspector John Jago discovers a mysterious photograph and some suspicious-looking petrol ration books among Latham’s belongings. These lead him off on a murky trail of deceit, corruption and murder. It seems that the Blitz Detective will have to make his own luck to bring to light an unexpected killer.
- The Covent Garden Murder (2023) – December, 1940. Christmas is coming, but the season of goodwill is overshadowed by the death and destruction of the Blitz. In London’s Covent Garden, where the glamour of theatreland rubs shoulders with the bustle of the capital’s biggest fruit and vegetable market, the war has closed the theatres and ruined the market trade. When a daylight air raid hits the Prince Albert Theatre in Drury Lane, rescuers find a man dying in the wreckage. But it wasn’t the bomb that’s ending his life – he’s been stabbed, and with his dying breath he whispers what sounds like a fragmented confession. As Detective Inspector John Jago begins to investigate, there’s an underlying question he must grapple with: was the murdered man himself a killer?
If you like our article about reading the Blitz Detective series in order by Mike Hollow, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also be interested in The Railway Detective series by Edward Marston or the Museum Mysteries by Jim Eldridge.