Full Marks by Neal James

cover Full Marks


This is a crime novel and a very good police investigation story. I loved the way the author shows us a couple of murder investigations by using them in an internal affairs inquiry concerning the main character. But it’s not only police work, there’s human interest thrown in the mix, we get to feel for the characters as their lives, loves, and other personal affairs are shown as backdrop to the police work.

The author uses detailed knowledge on a multitude of topics, and incorporates them into the story in a way that gives the whole a ‘real’ feel. But every now and then he does misses the mark a bit. For example when he mentions going to Belgium and visiting Roermond. Which is a city in The Netherlands, close to the Belgium and German border but still a Dutch city. Another thing that tripped me up was the mentioning of Dick Whittington as if everyone is supposed to know who that is. I don’t and I had to google the man to understand the referral to him. Then there was the meerschaum. The what? That’s exactly what I mean, how is the non pipe smoking reader to know that a meerschaum is a pipe? The thing is a crucial instrument to show a character’s mannerism, but only after a few times being mentioned as the meerschaum, the author remembers it might be handy to convey that it is a pipe.

Apart from these little slip-ups this is a way of showing the life and adventures of a policeman and how things work behind the scenes of the force. I enjoyed the alternating of present time internal affairs investigation, case-notes, and past actual case investigations.

Would I recommend it? If you like watching CSI, inspector Morse, and the likes, you’ll love reading this book.

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