'The Black Country' Is No Peaceful Setting

Jun 26, 2013

Scotland Yard’s murder squad is on a new case in Alex Grecian's latest novel.

Author Alex Grecian
Credit Alex Grecian

The English countryside might seem like an alluring, bucolic place for a getaway. And that’s probably true in modern times.

But in the England of the late 19th Century, small, rural English villages were hard-scrabble places full of superstition.

And that is the England of Alex Grecian’s new novel, The Black Country. It’s Grecian’s second mystery novel, a dark exploration into the underbelly of rural England featuring Scotland Yard’s murder squad and detectives Walter Day and Nevil Hammersmith.

The Black Country is set in Blackhampton, a fictional yet realistic coal-mining village steeped in metaphor and mystery.

“This book is about secrets,” Grecian says - not to mention the element of superstition, which casts Blackhampton in a distinctly eerie light. He adds, “I try to build suspense by throwing in the things that frighten me, so hopefully they frighten other people.”

Although the story takes place in the distant past, the writing feels current and fresh.

“I’m very much writing modern thrillers set in Victorian England,” he says.

The book is a follow-up to Grecian's first murder mystery, called The Yard. He was in Milwaukee recently to talk about his latest effort at Mystery One Bookstore and Boswell Book Company.