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Gregory Harris Books In Order

Publication Order of Colin Pendragon Mystery Books

The Arnifour Affair (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Bellingham Bloodbath (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Connicle Curse (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dalwich Desecration (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Endicott Evil (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Framingham Fiend (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Gregory Harris is an American writer of fictional detective novels famous for the series Colin Pendragon Mystery. Harris, a California native was a veteran TV and film worker before he turned to fiction writing. This experience perhaps helps to explain the rich storytelling pedigree that his novels display.

The Arnifour Affair

“The Arnifour Affair,” the first book in the series introduces us to Colin Pendragon, a self-confident and feisty detective who evokes memories of the more famous Sherlock Holmes. Colin is a handsome, brilliant man, the son of a powerful government official. His sidekick and gay lover Ethan is from a well off family that had fallen on hard times. Ethan had been a drug addict during his youth before he was rescued from the slums by Colin over a decade before the events of the series. In this story, Colin becomes drawn to a highly scandalous crime at the household of one of England’s most noble families. A carriage bearing the family crest of the Arnifour family arrives at Colin’s home in Kensington.

Lady Arnifour explains that her husband had been beaten to death and her niece left in a coma from a violent assault. The motive is unclear and suspicion has initially been directed towards the groundskeeper and his son. Lady Arnifour however is not convinced. As Colin and Ethan bury their heads in the murky details of the case a young street urchin begs for their help to find his missing sister. Colin immediately sees a connection between the two crimes, and while Ethan urges caution, the fearless sleuth turns his attentions at London’s underbelly for clues. The trail takes them through the dirt ridden opium dens in the East end to swanky locations in Embassy Row as discomfiting and dangerous secrets begin to rise to the surface.

In this novel, Harris shows an aptitude to temper the horrid events of the story with light and humor laden anecdotes particularly where the feisty housekeeper Mrs. Behemoth is involved. The book is littered with misleading breadcrumbs which yield intriguing twists for the reader and keep us guessing throughout. Instead of plunging right into the backstory, Harris takes us through a long detour into the London underbelly, tracing Ethan’s past through the dingy drug and crime soaked backstreets of the London East End.

The Bellingham Bloodbath

After a series of highly successful investigative outings, Colin Pendragon’s reputation has been cemented across the city. This time crime strikes at heart of the highest office in Victorian England, the Buckingham Palace. A captain of the queen’s guard has been murdered along with his young wife in their flat. Colin and Ethan are summoned to Buckingham Palace where Major Hampstead briefs them on the crime. Hampstead demands total secrecy since leakage of the murder details could jeopardize the Guard’s reputation. In his usual bravado, Colin responds that he would only need three days to solve the case, putting his reputation at stake. Time barred and having to contend with the condescending jabs from his nemesis Inspector Varcoe from Scotland Yard, Colin probes for secrets and clues which turn up in no short supply. The murk and dangerous information he uncovers has the potential to produce cataclysmic events across the country. Amid the danger though, Colin has to push hard to solve the crime before the killer strikes again, and his reputation is damaged severely.

In his usual bravado, Colin responds that he would only need three days to solve the case, putting his reputation at stake. Time barred and having to contend with the condescending jabs from his nemesis Inspector Varcoe from Scotland Yard, Colin probes for secrets and clues which turn up in no short supply. The murk and dangerous information he uncovers has the potential to produce cataclysmic events across the country. Amid the danger though, Colin has to push hard to solve the crime before the killer strikes again, and his reputation is damaged severely.

In terms of quality, this book moves a notch higher from its predecessor. Not only is the story more intricate and character rich but Harris ups the ante on event and character description. The subplots are richer and more impactful on the progression of main events in the novel. The consistency in writing style between novels is an intriguing factor, as one can unmistakably connect this book to the earlier one from just a few lines of reading. The humor and pompous narration from the first novel is taken a notch higher, making The Bellingham Bloodbath a truly great read.

Verdict

The parallels between Colin and Ethan in this novel and Sherlock Holmes and Watson in Conan Arthur Doyles Sherlock Holmes series is hard to miss. Harris has constructed Colin with all the arrogance of Holmes but Colin has a charming side that shows up frequently unlike the perpetually aloof personality of Holmes. Ethan shows little of the caution and cluelessness towards his friend’s methods that characterized Watson’s relationship with Holmes. Then there is the small matter of Colin and Ethan being lovers which adds a major twist to the novel. The difficulty of depicting events from the past in accurate form is not lost on many authors.

The settings, dialogues and events represented in Gregory Harris’s series are authentically Victorian which suggests extensive research and knowledge of the period. Detective stories pose a major difficulty for authors; in order to describe an extraordinarily smart character in detail, you do not only require a great imagination but a bagful of smarts as well. Harris’s ability to construct a clue out of the slightest detail is intriguing and a major component of the main character’s appeal. Additionally, Harris narrates the story at a brisk pace and fills it with action and twists, making the reader stay engaged from start to end. Going by these two novels, the series is extremely entertaining and truly on par with the more fabled effort by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Additionally, Harris narrates the story at a brisk pace and fills it with action and twists, making the reader stay engaged from start to end. Going by these two novels, the series is extremely entertaining and truly on par with the more fabled effort by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Gregory Harris