A Scream in Soho by John G. Brandon

A Scream in Soho cover

A Scream in Soho by John G. Brandon was first published in 1940 but my copy is a British Library Crime Classics reprint. It’s the first book that I’ve read by this author.

I got the impression that this book was written with the author’s tongue very much in his cheek. At times it’s just a bit daft and unlikely, but still entertaining. Detective Inspector McCarthy is quite a departure from the norm as he’s a Soho lad and had a very rough upbringing, that stands him in good stead though as he knows the types of thugs that live in the area and the sorts of things that they get up to.

It’s London’s Soho in wartime, so it’s dark and grim and there are a lot of Italian gangsters about and supposed Austrian refugees aren’t at all what they seem. There’s a murder early on – plenty of evidence but no body!

That exclamation mark of mine (I’m quite partial to them at times) is used by me as usual in a cheery and light-hearted fashion. I had to laugh when I read a Goodreads ‘review’ of this book by someone who was outraged by it, mainly because one of the chapter titles has an exclamation mark and the book is apparently homophobic, transgenderist, ableist (what is that? Prejudice against disabilities?) and a whole lot of other ‘ists’ and ‘ics’. Yet again I’m left wondering why people bother to read older books which aren’t likely to be as politically correct as most books are today. I suspect they’re looking for something to be outraged about!

John G. Brandon might not be one of the big hitters of crime fiction, but he did have a good sense of humour, and that led to this being an entertaining read.

4 thoughts on “A Scream in Soho by John G. Brandon

  1. This book does sound like fun–isn’t it silly to discover people who don’t seem to realize that our views about society and people have evolved over the years, and that people many, many decades ago thought differently, based on their culture and society??

    • Judith,
      It seems crazy that some people can’t realise that things like that change over a long time. I suspect that they go around looking for things to be grumpy about and I doubt if their sensibilities are authentic – or is that me being too cynical?!

  2. People who read older books and then criticize them because they don’t fit their modern sensibilities are one of my pet peeves. I’ve been feeling a blog post about it coming on for a while now….

    • Jennifer,
      I’m looking forward to that blog post. I suspect there are some people around who just trawl through things looking for reasons to be outraged – sad. Ooh, that POTUS speak is catching.

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