Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London #2) by Ben Aaronovitch
Gollanz (Oct 2011) | Paperback, 375 pages

Urban Fantasy

Moon Over Soho starts just a few months following Rivers of London with Peter Grant driving up to visit his friend and fellow police officer Lesley, while she is recovering from a magical possession that left her with horrific facial injuries. Aaronovitch had me chuckling by page one sentence two in his description of Peter’s drive past Colchester, the first British Roman capital. He describes it the home of that ‘red-headed chavette from Norfolk known as Boudicca’ and it is Aaronovitch’s gift for the perfect one liners that had me laughing all the way through the book.

Peter feels guilty throughout the book about Lesley’s injuries even though he knows deep down there was nothing more he could have done. He reflects both on this journey and throughout the novel, about the choices he made on his previous case (from Rivers of London) and the people he met during the investigation. He has very little time to feel too sorry for himself when he is called in to investigate the death of a part-time jazz musician who had died of what seems for very innocuous reasons. Peter has not just one case but two as more men are turning up dead after run in with a woman who has ‘vagina dentata’ – in other words they get their penises bit off by a woman (or something that looks like a woman) who has teeth in her vagina. Needless to say, as any man would, Peter treats this case with extreme caution after seeing the suffering of his fellow man. I am sure that every man that reads this part of the book ends up with their hand covering their crotch!

Part of his investigation leads Peter back home both for advice and information. These scenes are especially humorous and some of the best lines come from Peter’s observations of both his parents and relatives. One such scene follows when Peter is at home visiting.

Now personally, like my dad – I fancy it (hair) au naturel, or in braids, but the first rule about a black woman’s hair is you don’t talk about a black woman’s hair, And the second rule is you don’t ever touch a black woman’s hair without getting written permission first. And that includes after sex, marriage or death, for that matter. Of course, this courtesy is not reciprocated.

‘You need a haircut’ said Mum. And by haircut she meant of course, shaved short enough for me to get a suntan.

And another one

The TV was still off, and my mum hadn’t spoken to anyone on the phone for over three hours – it was beginning to get a little bit Fringe. When I finished, I stepped out to find them sitting side by side on the sofa, holding hands. I asked if they wanted more tea but they said no, and gave me strange, identical, slightly distant smiles. I realised with a start that they were dying for me to leave so that they could go to bed. I quickly grabbed my coat, kissed my mum goodbye and practically ran out of the house

The investigation leads both Peter and his mentor/captain, Nightingale throughout London and beyond. Nightingale is still recovering from the injuries he received in book 1 and Peter is left to protect both himself and others even though he is only recently started to learn magic. Through this part of the investigation we get a better understanding of the Folly, how it works and Nightgale’s past. The scenes between both these characters and the housemaid Molly are both humorous and touching such as

For a terrifying moment I thought he was going to hug me, but fortunately, we both remembered we were English just in time. Still it was a close call.

We also get to meet a number of new characters including Peter’s new girlfriend and  a few return from book one, including Tyburn, the daughter of Mama Thames who has a prodigious dislike of Peter after a run-in during book 1. Lesley also features and there is a big surprise at the end of the novel involving her.

Moon Over Soho is a great book and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. It was was the perfect blend of mystery, magic and humour and had the right balance of scene setting, background and action. I have read very few books that were at the same time clever and entertaining plus I loved that it was set in London. Kudos to Aaronovitch for getting it right the second time around. Can hardly wait for book 3.

VERDICT:

Moon Over Soho was a delight to read. I loved every minute of Peter Grant’s exploits both on and off the job. Aaronovitch is able to very cleverly fuse a murder mystery with some rather hilarious personal observations about life in London. I got several glares from fellow commuters for laughing out loud several times. This was an excellent follow up to Rivers of London and I already looking forward to book 3 – Whispers Underground

RATING:

BEN AARONOVITCH ONLINE
Website | Goodreads | Twitter

BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER

  1. Rivers of London
  2. Moon over Soho
  3. Whispers Under Ground

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Melanie

A displaced Canadian living in the UK who when not reading is often found trawling through GoodReads looking for something to read or buying another book on Amazon. [Melanie no longer reviews for the site.]

2 Comments


Gemma December 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

I really enjoyed book one and really look forward to picking up both this and Whispers Underground. Great review Melanie

Reply

Melanie December 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm

They are great books…a joy to read

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