The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones

The Cabinetmaker cover

The Cabinetmaker is the first foray into crime fiction by Alan Jones and I hope it won’t be his last because I really did enjoy it. The setting is Glasgow, starting in the early 1970s and ending in 2009.

John McDaid is the newest recruit to the CID and he finds himself in a department full of detectives who are less than careful about their work and the way they gather information. When a young student is jumped in a Glasgow street by a group of thugs, and ends up dead, the resulting investigation is compromised by the behaviour of the older detectives.

Over the years McDaid forms a friendship with Francis the victim’s father. Francis is a talented and successful cabinetmaker and watching him at his craft awakens a love of woodwork in McDaid. The workshop parts of the book contain some of the best writing. Alan Jones conjures up the scene perfectly, describing the techniques involved in making various pieces of furniture.

The main character of McDaid is very likeable and I do hope that Jones will be able to use him in another book. The storyline has some very clever twists and turns but the language of the police station which is mainly at the beginning is what is usually described as ‘strong’ – don’t let that put you off. Jones wanted to be true to the ambience of the 1970s male dominated police force. I’m sure it’s all very authentic. Think of the TV programme In the Thick of It where the language is atrocious but according to those who know, in reality Blair, Campbell et al were actually even worse with the amount of swearing that really went on in Downing Street.

You can read Peggy Ann’s review of The Cabinetmaker here.

It just shows you that everything is relative as Peggy found the football/soccer parts of the book dragged a bit, whereas I thought those bits flew past. I’m assuming that that is because I’m well used to being bored stiff by my husband’s football chat!

If you fancy reading The Cabinetmaker you can buy it here. You can ‘look inside’ and get a flavour of the book too.

Alan Jones is Scottish and lives in Scotland, so this one would count towards the Read Scotland 2014 challenge.