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Reader Reviewed
Arrowood by Mick Finlay


Part of the An Arrowood Mystery Series
Historical Fiction   Crime / Mystery   Debuts of the Month   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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January 2018 Debut of the Month

London 1895, gloriously brought to life in all its grizzly glory. Arrowood is a weathered Private Investigator with a soft heart and a weakness for a drink. He shares the same skies as the famous, revered detective, Sherlock Holmes and yet he can only dream of sharing the same accolades and financial rewards. The cases Arrowood and his long suffering assistant Barnett work are deadly, sleazier and of poor pay. Still carrying the ghost of a disastrous investigation that left a man violently beaten to death, they take on a seemingly straightforward missing person case. Before long a simple investigation turns into a dangerous step into the world of political violence and dealings with the very same crime boss involved in their earlier case. Anxious to keep a distance yet bound by obligation after the death of a young informant, they are soon deeply involved in something deadly.

Being a fan of Sherlock Holmes it was wonderful to revisit late Victorian London. The atmosphere Finlay creates is authentic and Arrowood’s animosity towards Holmes adds an interesting twist. Arrowood is a very different detective. Repulsive at times, yet sad and kind-hearted. I couldn’t help but warm to him. His assistant and our narrator Barnett, leads us through the case right to the thrilling climax that had me on the edge of my seat. ~ Shelley Fallows

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Lisa Redmond - 'The writing is furious and fast paced...This is a fantastic start to what I hope will be a longer series.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Set in 1895 London, ‘Arrowood’ is completely different from the usual thriller – not least the fact the maestro himself Sherlock Holmes, it seems has competition...a truly superb read.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'Loving Sherlock Holmes, I was a little apprehensive reading this, but WOW!! no need to fear, it is EXCELLENT, I didn't want it to finish it, It has everything, carriages, mist, fog,  grubby pubs, dodgy men, hopeless coppers, and two wonderful characters you will want to meet again!'
  • Kathy Howell - 'This is a well written book that moves at a good pace with an engaging mystery and likeable characters.  When I received this book I opened it to see what it was like...and struggled to put it down!'
  • Cathy Petersen - 'A good idea that makes for a pleasant, easy read but for me lacked that extra element to make it a really great crime novel.'    
  • Rachael Anderson - 'A light historical crime novel, which is almost a pastiche of the Sherlock Holmes stories.'
  • Jacki Moorcroft - 'Superb story of London in 1895.  Not your upper-class but the poorer street people, vividly brought to life by Mick Finlay in this tale of a missing person which turns out to be so much more.'
  • Keith Currie - 'Arrowood’s determination, Barnett’s decency and drive, the cast of London characters, the presentation of living conditions of the time, the lively dialogue all contribute to an amusing and very entertaining read.'
  • Alfred Nobile - 'This is a tale I would recommend to anyone who wants to smell old London and likes a book with character and evokes the times which it is set in.'
  • Alan Gee - 'a good story, involving murder, London gangsters, Irish terrorists and a cache of stolen British Army rifles'
  • Caye Gould - 'A struggle at times to get into the story for any period of reading time.'
  • Emily Curnow - 'The novel twists and turns throughout until a satisfactory conclusion is realised...Very much enjoyed.'
  • Emily - 'This novel contained everything a 'Sherlock Holmes' inspired story should; a dark criminal underworld and grimy London alleyways, not to mention a cantankerous private detective and his loyal sidekick.'
  • J Hutchinson - 'This is far more than just a Victorian murder mystery and I would love to read more of their cases.'


Arrowood by Mick Finlay

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

1895: London's scared. A killer haunts the city's streets. The poor are hungry; crime bosses are taking control; the police force stretched to breaking point. While the rich turn to Sherlock Holmes, the celebrated private detective rarely visits the densely populated streets of South London, where the crimes are sleazier and the people are poorer. In a dark corner of Southwark, victims turn to a man who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime: Arrowood - self-taught psychologist, occasional drunkard and private investigator. When a man mysteriously disappears and Arrowood's best lead is viciously stabbed before his eyes, he and his sidekick Barnett face their toughest quest yet: to capture the head of the most notorious gang in London...


`Arrowood is a flawed but engaging hero and the plot spins from peril to twist and back with real panache...Crackles with energy and wit' The Times

'A book with enough warmth, charm, humour, and intrigue to signal the start of an excellent new series.' - Vaseem Khan, author of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

`A fantastic creation
The Spectator

Seattle Times

`Strongly reminiscent of Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike novels...a memorable detective who can stand among the best
Harrow Times

`Arrowood feels... like he's always existed, we're only now being treated to an introduction. Mick Finlay's atmospheric, detailed, singular London is a terrifying place I hope to return to again and again.
Ross Armstrong, bestselling author of The Watcher

`If you ever thought the Sherlock Holmes stories might benefit from being steeped in gin, caked in grime and then left unwashed for weeks...Mick Finlay's 1895-set detective debut is for you.
Crime Scene

`A book with enough warmth, charm, humour, and intrigue to signal the start of an excellent new series.
Vaseem Khan, author of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

`Stunningly dark and atmospheric crime debut. This is a story that packs a powerful punch. With murder, intrigue, dark humour, compelling characters and an extraordinary backdrop, it's to be hoped that Arrowood is just the opener for a thrilling and original new series.
Lancashire Evening Post

`Readers of historical detective fiction will enjoy this well-set, darkly humorous addition to the canon.
Historical Novel Society

About the Author

Mick Finlay

Mick Finlay was born in Glasgow but left as a young boy, living in Canada and then England. Before becoming an academic, he ran a market stall on Portobello Road, and has worked as a tent-hand in a travelling circus, a butcher's boy, a hotel porter, and in various jobs in the NHS and social services. He teaches in a Psychology Department, and has published research on political violence and persuasion, verbal and non-verbal communication, and disability. He now lives in Brighton with his family.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th December 2017


Mick Finlay

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HQ an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


400 pages


Historical Fiction
Crime / Mystery
Debuts of the Month
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Historical mysteries



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