In the style of Benjamin Black, an evocative, literary crime thriller set in Ireland and London during the outbreak of WWII.
1940. A woman lands on the Scottish coast from a German flying boat and goes to ground, hunted by British Intelligence.
Suspended from the Irish police for reasons he won't explain, Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie is working on his father's farm in Wicklow. One day he vanishes, leaving no sign of where he is heading - or why. Even in rural Ireland, rumours of assassination and Nazi spies fill the air, leaving Stefan's father to wonder whether he is in terrible danger.
Meanwhile in London, Stefan is undercover, working in a pub: The Bedford Arms in Camden. Run by an alcoholic, bankrupt landlord, it's a wartime refuge for the Irish in London. And while the city shakes under the Blitz, Stefan falls into a romance with Vera Kennedy, an Irishwoman who has her own dark secrets to hide.
But behind closed doors, a different war is being fought, and Stefan has more work than pulling pints on his hands. The Bedford Arms hides some unexpected dangers. The drunken landlord is not as witless as he seems, and Stefan's mission is under perilous threat.
When Vera disappears, he discovers that the Nazis were far closer to home than he thought. As he embarks on a journey to trace Vera from London to Ireland, Stefan will have to decide where his true loyalties lie.
Praise for Michael Russell
'Complex but compelling . . . utterly vivid and convincing' Independent on Sunday
'A superb, atmospheric thriller' Irish Independent
'A thriller to keep you guessing and gasping' Daily Mail
'Atmospheric' Sunday Times
'Having already brought 1930s Dublin and Danzig vividly to life in his outstanding debut The City of Shadows, Russell does the same for New York in a sequel that's even better. The unique complexity of Ireland's divided loyalties and enmities on the eve of the Second World War is explored with unusual clarity and intelligence, and there are plenty of thrills and spills too'
'Complex but compelling ... utterly vivid and convincing ... Michael Russell's style is a pleasure: easy, fluent, clear, always calm and never over-heated. The result is an exciting comfort read, which sounds like a paradox but isn't'
'Part thriller and part historical novel, this is a blinder of a read!'
'A great insight into a turbulent time in Dublin and Ireland, in a challenging-to-your-heartbeat kind of way'
After a successful career as a television writer and producer, working on such series as A Touch of Frost, Midsomer Murders and Between the Lines, Michael Russell decided to write what he had always wanted to: books.
The City in Darkness is the third of his Stefan Gillespie stories of historical crime fiction, taking a sideways look at the Second World War through Irish eyes, and exploring some unexpected corners of the conflict, such as Danzig, New York and, in The City in Darkness, the cities of Franco's Spain. The first two Stefan Gillespie novels, The City of Shadows and The City of Strangers were both shortlisted for Crime Writers' Association awards.
Michael lives with his family in West Wicklow, in Ireland, not a million miles from Stefan Gillespie's home.