My local library has moved in to a new building, the ‘Immingham Hub’. I went for a visit yesterday, because I needed to print off some patterns I’d bought and wanted to make, but also to have a nose round.
Well, I was quite pleased with the new library. It is definitely more spacious and less cramped and crammed in, but I think space has been made for technology at the expense of books. That being said, the four computers are out of the way, and the laptop bar is part of a partition. The only comfortable seats are in the reference area, right next to the printer, and one end of the library opens in to the council offices and reception area. You can hear what’s going on in there while browsing for a new book to read.
The staff are new to Immingham, except one young man that I saw working in the old library a couple of times. The other two I recognised from Grimsby Central Library. I asked a couple of questions about the reader’s group and they told me the wrong information. I already knew the answer to my questions, so I was a bit disappointed that they hadn’t made the effort to get to know the Immingham Library timetable.
I got a couple of new books out, after taking another back. I’d got that out on the day the old library closed. I only finished it the other day and read it in a single sitting.
The Strings of Murder by Oscar De Muriel is set in 1888. Inspector Frey is sent to Edinburgh in the middle of the Ripper Case to investigate a locked room murder that resembled superficially the Ripper murders. He is not impressed, possessing as he does a violent prejudice against Scots. In Edinburgh he joins Insp
ector McGrey in the investigation. One murder leads to another and it soon becomes clear that the murderer wants one of the original victims’ violins, an instrument rumoured to have been played by the devil. The case becomes personal for Frey when his favourite brother, Elgie, a talented violinist joins him in Edinburgh; he’s next on the killer’s list.
It was rather an enjoyable chase, I have to say.
The Testimony of The Hanged Man by Ann Granger, is set in the 1870’s, in London. Inspector Ben Ross is called to a final meeting in Newgate with a murderer, who wishes to share some information. Sixteen years previously he had witnessed a murder while seeking shelter from a summer storm. Inspector Ross takes the information to his superiors and is ordered to ignore it. Ross is unable to ignore it, or the well-spoken woman hiding from an abusive husband that he meets on the way home. Lizzie Ross decides to look in to the murder, with the help of Bessie, their housemaid, and Wally a former prizefighter turned cabman. What they turn up lends credence to the condemned man’s story. Ross takes the new information to his Superintendent, Dunn, who allows the unofficial investigation to go on. When a second murder associated with the same family occurs the police become involved officially. Meanwhile, an arrogant taxpaying wine merchant by the name of Canning reports his family abducted. Ross connects the woman and child he found hiding under the arches of a railway bridge to Canning. A search is made and they a finally found.
The narrative alternates between Inspector Ross and Lizzie Ross, and is told in the first person. It was quite enjoyable, with a slightly unresolved ending.