The Mysterious Bookshop

Brandon, John G., A Scream in Soho

Brandon’s novel, first published in 1940, presents Scotland Yard’s Insp. Patrick Aloysius McCarthy as a hero for his time: WWII-era London. Under the blackout, it can be hard to see your hand in front of your face. But as long as Soho native McCarthy is on the job, even the most heinous of criminals, including spies and murderers, will be brought to justice. Leaning on underworld figures like Floriello “Flo” Mascagni and Danny “the Dip” Regan, the sleuth dives into a case with national security implications: will the wily “Teutons” be able to smuggle stolen anti-aircraft defense plans out of England? Brandon, an Australian-born professional boxer credited with over 120 novels, has, by contemporary standards, an overwritten style and a propensity for casually racist and sexist commentary. But the novel’s hero doesn’t disappoint; McCarthy knows his beat, trusts his hunches, and has no qualms about knocking heads together.