The Yard

Paperback | April 2, 2013

byAlex Grecian

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1889, LONDON.
JACK THE RIPPER’S REIGN OF TERROR IN FINALLY OVER, BUT A NEW ONE IS JUST BEGINNING.

Victorian London—a violent cesspool of squalid depravity. Only twelve detectives—The Murder Squad—are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed here each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capturing Jack the Ripper, the Murder Squad suffers the brunt of public contempt. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…

A Scotland Yard Inspector has been found stuffed in a black steamer trunk at Euston Square Station, his eyes and mouth sewn shut. When Walter Day, the squad’s new hire, is assigned to the case, he finds a strange ally in Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist. Their grim conclusion: this was not just a random, bizarre murder but in all probability, the first of twelve. Because the squad itself it being targeted and the devious killer shows no signs of stopping before completing his grim duty. But Inspector Day has one more surprise, something even more shocking than the crimes: the killer’s motive.

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From the Publisher

1889, LONDON. JACK THE RIPPER’S REIGN OF TERROR IN FINALLY OVER, BUT A NEW ONE IS JUST BEGINNING. Victorian London—a violent cesspool of squalid depravity. Only twelve detectives—The Murder Squad—are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed here each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capt...

Alex Grecian is the author of the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son, The Yard is his first novel.

other books by Alex Grecian

Lost And Gone Forever
Lost And Gone Forever

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The Harvest Man

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The Black Country
The Black Country

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see all books by Alex Grecian
Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9.02 × 6.05 × 0.94 inPublished:April 2, 2013Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425261271

ISBN - 13:9780425261279

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Customer Reviews of The Yard

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Yard is fantastic This is the first Alex Grecian book that I've read and now I'm hooked. He takes the reader back to the days following the Jack the Ripper incidents. I loved how the characters developed. I just couldn't put this book down!
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Sherlock-Holmes style of historical thriller - But Better :) I adored this book. It was recommended to me randomly by someone in the Indigo staff as I was browsing books - I am glad I took the suggestion. It was really interesting and I have read more of the series. Only disadvantage: This book, even though it is in "paperback" format, it is still 9" high (as big as a hardcover) so it won't fit on my bookshelves. I decided to wait for the Mass Market Paperback to be printed, then buy the whole series. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book It's my first book of Alex Grecian, and I was really captivated by the book, real page turner, I just could not put it down.
Date published: 2016-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read This is one book where the story took me back in time and across the ocean while enjoying a cup of tea. Every character seemed real and I caught myself hoping that I could meet them for a chat :)
Date published: 2015-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Yard Great read and adventure!
Date published: 2014-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Yard Great first novel by Alex Grecian. Can't wait to read the next one.
Date published: 2014-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from ScotlandYard at its Finest! Jack the Ripper has terrorized London while eluding the police and people have lost faith in the legendary Scotland Yard. Now a new menace is on the loose and Inspector Walter Day and the newly formed Murder Squad are on the case trying to redeem themselves . Likeable characters and a vivid London backdrop had me savouring every page.
Date published: 2013-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Historical Who-Dun-It Shortly after the reign of terror by Jack the Ripper the London police form a “murder squad”. Twelve men picked for their proven investigative skills to solve murders in 19th century London. When one of the officers is found stuffed into a steamer trunk with his eyes and mouth sewn shut the whole squad is in shock. How could such a heinous crime happen to one of their own? Walter Day, the newest member of the squad is assigned to the case. Insp. Day suspects that this murder is only the beginning and the whole squad is being targeted. He forms an unusual alliance with Dr. Kingsley who performs autopsies for the department. Between the two of them CSI type investigative skills slowly begin to form. Being a fan of murder mysteries and historical fiction I was looking forward to reading this book when I heard about. I was not disappointed. The characters are interesting and the author brings the backdrop of 1890’s London to life for the reader. I find it particularly interesting to read the author’s perspective on how fingerprint analysis and trace evidence gathering could have been born. If you are a fan of the genre, this book is a must read.
Date published: 2013-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart Stopping Walk Back in Time I loved this book! Being a fan of the new British tv series Ripper Street and anything old Victorian era London/England, I read this with an open mind and wow! The author really gave a realistic view of the era, the people, the lives they led and died with. It's gritty and eye opening but shows well the policing and what they had to work with and how forensics are evolving and lets us into the heart of the people; and it is a good heart. Really impressed and can't wait to read his 2nd book The Black Country.
Date published: 2013-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved It Fantastic. Reminds me of The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Can't wait for another.
Date published: 2013-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Yard Started a little slow but turned out to be a good read. Looking forward to the next book by this author.
Date published: 2012-12-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A really good historical thriller! Grecian has hooked me with his fantastic characters! I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. The Yard takes place in the Victorian era and features the men of London's Scotland Yard who have been assigned to work on a special task force to investigate murders, which was established following the Jack the Ripper cases. The story opens with an officer found slain. In the following chapter, we find out who the perpetrator is and learn more about him. Written from the opposing points of view of the murderer and the detectives, it builds suspense. You know those moments in a thrilling movie when you are yelling at the television for the person to turn around or not to go through the door? Well, this book has a lot of those! I felt as though I was a part of the story, waiting for the detectives to find out what I already knew! Grecian has developed a whole cast of wonderful characters, and I can't settle on just one favourite! I loved Inspector Walter Day, who married a woman of much higher social status than himself. We learn a little bit of their love story, which was very sweet and romantic. Then there is Constable Nevil Hammersmith who, as a boy, worked in the coal mines. I absolutely adored Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the self-appointed coroner, who has the biggest heart and is so compassionate. This is Grecian's debut novel, and I love the world that he has created. The setting is so richly detailed that I felt as if I was there. Fans of Sherlock Holmes will love it. It is my understanding that this is the start of a series, and Grecian has already hooked me with his fantastic characters! I look forward to reading more of his work! This is my first narration by Toby Leonard Moore, and the first thing that I noticed was his breathing. At the outset of the book, I was distracted by his every inhalation and there were also some awkward pauses. I soon became caught up in the drama of the book and no longer paid them any mind. I loved Moore's accent and the tone of his voice, but I was preoccupied with his breathing in the beginning. MY RATING: 4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your "To Be Read" list. Thanks to Penguin Audio for the review copy!
Date published: 2012-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great debut! An excellent book, it actually reads like a mystery/drama series that you would see on the BBC. I look forward to the next book.
Date published: 2012-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Victorian Forensics Reason for Reading: I love Victorian mysteries, especially when they actually focus on early policing. Superb! Splendid! I am thrilled to hear this is the first in a proposed new series. The Yard has everything I want in a Victorian crime: authenticity, atmosphere and a peek into the underbelly of Victorian life. Though none are used as characters in the book, the book is peopled with real-life personages from the era to lend authenticity and one can tell much research has been done on the author's part as the book lives and breathes Victorian London, one can almost see the fog rising from the pages and smell the stench as a page is turned. Grecian has devised a wonderfully wicked murder mystery that involves not only one but two serial killers and not only two crimes but a handful of others which keep the characters busy and the reader on his toes trying to piece things together. This is one of those mysteries where we the reader are given access to the murderer from the beginning and the sport is in watching how the police solve the case. Mind you, there are also a handful of other crimes going on, some related, some not, but all somehow coming together one way or another. Incredibly genius really. I so enjoy a clever mystery and this is one by far. A major aspect of the novel is the introduction of forensic sciences. This book focuses on fingerprints and how they were first discovered and put into practice in policework. The general disdain for the practice except for a few forward thinking people and the amazing results as the "coroner" for the Yard applies them to the job. We also are introduced to a great cast of characters, main and auxiliary, who hopefully will be following into the next book of the series. Both of the main sleuths are green, but very clever. Quite different from each other in circumstances and character, Detective Inspector Walter Day and Constable Nevil Hammersmith both share a sense a duty and justice. I did find the first hundred pages slow reading, but that is the type of book this is, they were slow, but not boring in the least. I was drawn in right from the captivating first sentence and while the first hundred pages slowly draws us into the era, the characters, the cases on hand, the rest of the book was a riveting, fast, hard-to-put-down mystery of London's underbelly, depravity and trauma. Book two's focus is said to be on the introduction of the use of photography into policing and I'm looking forward to it with glee!
Date published: 2012-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great debut The Yard is Alex Grecian's debut novel. And this reader has put him firmly on her 'must read' list. London, England 1889 -the year after Jack's infamous rampage. After the Metropolitan Police failed to solve that case, a 'Murder Squad' was formed within Scotland Yard. It consists of only twelve detectives who cannot begin to solve each and every one of the hundred murders being perpetrated each month. It is Inspector Walter Day's first week on the job when one of their own is found murdered in a particularly grisly manner. Determined to prove himself and seek justice for his fallen comrade, Day dives into the case with both feet." "The new inspector, Day, appeared to be up to the job, but Kett knew little about the man. There was an innocence about him that bothered Kett. He had seen idealistic men come and go, the city leeching hope from them too quickly." I was hooked from the opening line...."Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found." This is a time period I absolutely love and Grecian does a good job bringing the setting to life with lots of atmospheric detail. The plot is multi faceted with more than just the primary case being investigated. Although we know the identity of the perpetrator about halfway through, it didn't detract from the story at all. But it was the characters that were a stand out for me. Grecian has fleshed them out nicely, providing 'interludes' where we learn some of their past. Day is a very likable character, struggling with being in the 'big city'. I quite enjoyed his wife Claire and see her playing a bigger part in the future. Constable Hammersmith is also a character I was drawn to. He's a little more down and dirty than Day, willing to bend the law a wee bit in the name of justice. But the most engrossing was Dr. Bernard Kingsley. He works an unpaid consultant to the Yard, firmly believing that the science he is pursuing will change the face of policing in the future. It was great fun to see the advent of forensics in fingerprinting and evidence collecting. Kingsley is a bit of an enigma as is his daughter Fiona. Grecian has gathered an eclectic, fascinating group of characters, set them down in an intriguing time and place and tied it all together with an ingenious plot. I truly hope this is the beginning of a series - I quite enjoyed The Yard and will definitely pick up the next book by this author.
Date published: 2012-06-04

Extra Content

Read from the Book

PrologueLONDON, 1889.Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found. A black steamer trunk appeared at Euston Square Station sometime during the night and remained unnoticed until early afternoon of the following day. The porter discovered it after the one o’clock train had departed, and he opened the trunk when it proved too heavy for him to lift.He immediately sent a boy to find the police.Detective Inspector Walter Day was first at the scene, and he directed the many bobbies who arrived after him. He had come to London only the week before. This was his first crime scene and he was clearly nervous, but the blue-uniformed bobbies knew their job well and did not require much from him. They pushed back the commuters who had gathered round the trunk and began to scour the station for possible weapons and other clues.An hour later, Dr Bernard Kingsley entered the station all in a rush and headed for the knot of people gathered on the gallery of the booking office. The trunk had been left against the railing overlooking the platform. Kingsley brushed past Inspector Day and knelt on the floor.He opened his satchel and drew out a cloth tape measure, snaked it between his fingers, moving it up and across. The trunk was a standard size, two by three by three, glossy black with tin rivets along the seams. He closed the lid and brushed a finger across the top. It was clean; no dust.With his magnifying glass in hand, he scuttled around the trunk, scrutinizing the corners for wear. He licked his finger and rubbed a seam along one side where black paint had been applied to cover a crack. He was aware of Day hovering over his shoulder and, less intrusive, the bobbies at the station’s entrance pushing back fresh onlookers who had arrived from the street outside. The lower classes were always out for a spectacle, while the better-off walked briskly past, ignoring the to-do.His preliminary examination out of the way, Kingsley opened and shut the trunk’s lid several times, listening to the hinges, then eased it back until the edge of the lid rested against the floor. He peered into the trunk for a long moment, ignoring the sickly sweet odor of death. The body inside was folded in on itself, knotted and mashed into the too-small space like so much laundry. One shoe was missing, and Kingsley presumed it was somewhere at the bottom of the trunk, under the body. The man’s suit was gabardine, the hems lightly worn, dirt pressed into the creases. His arms and legs were broken and wrapped around one another.Kingsley took a pair of tongs from his satchel and used them to move an arm out of the way so he could see the man’s face. The skin was pearl grey and the eyes and mouth were sewn shut with heavy thread, the pattern of parallel stitches like train tracks across the man’s lips. Kingsley looked up at Day. When he spoke, his voice was low and measured.“Have you identified him yet?”Day shook his head no.“It’s one of you,” Kingsley said.“One of me?”“The body is that of a detective. This is Inspector Little.”Day backed away to the railing and held up his hands, warding off the unpleasant thought.“It can’t be. I spoke with Little just last evening.”Kingsley shrugged.“It’s not that I doubt you,” Day said. “But Inspector Little . . .”“Come and see for yourself,” Kingsley said.Day stared at him.“I said come here. Please.”“Of course.”Day approached the trunk and swallowed hard before looking down.“Breathe through your mouth, Mr Day. The odor isn’t pleasant.”Day nodded, panting heavily.“I suppose it is Mr Little. But what have they done to him?”“You can see what’s been done. The question is why has it been done?”“It’s inhuman.”“I’m afraid it’s all too human.”“Cut those off him. Get that off his face. We can’t have a detective of the Yard trussed up like a . . . like a Christmas goose, for God’s sake.”One of the uniformed constables standing at the rail looked up. The station was full of citizens who didn’t care about the dead detective in the trunk just so long as they got a chance to see him. Day recognized the terror in the constable’s eyes and could see that he had no idea why he was doing this dangerous job for little money and no respect. In that single moment, in the expression he saw in the other man’s eyes, Day understood that London needed her police, but did not care about them. And he saw, too, that this newfound discovery was something that every policeman on that platform already understood.The morale of the Metropolitan Police Force had reached its lowest point during the Ripper murders of the previous year and had not yet recovered. The files of the Whitechapel murders had not been closed as the case was still ongoing, but nobody in London trusted the police to do their job. Jack had escaped and the detectives of the Yard had never even come close to finding him. The unsolved case was a harsh reminder of their fallibility, and it hung over their heads every morning when they walked through the door of the back hall. The Ripper was still out there somewhere, and it was likely he’d remain out there.Kingsley stood and put a hand on Day’s shoulder. When he spoke, his voice was barely audible.“I will most assuredly make Inspector Little presentable again. There will be a time and a place to mourn him. Here and now, you must fix your mind on justice. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Little’s killer is watching us, and your demeanor may set the course for the investigation to come. You must appear to be strong and rational.”Day nodded.“To work, then,” Kingsley said.He grabbed a handle and lifted one end of the trunk, grunted, and set it back down.“Inspector Day,” he said, “you look like an able fellow. Lift this end, would you?”“Where shall I put it?”“Not the entirety of the trunk, just pull upward on the handle and get this thing off the ground a bit, would you?”Kingsley removed his hat and set it on a bench along the far wall of the gallery. He draped his coat over the arm of the bench and strode back to where Day had an end of the trunk lifted off the ground. The two men were a study in contrasts. Dr Kingsley was short and thin with sharply chiseled features and wild, prematurely grey hair that matched his eyes. Inspector Day was tall and built like an ox through the chest and shoulders. His short dark hair was combed back from his wide forehead, and his expression was permanently helpful, as if he were in search of an old lady he might escort across the street. He displayed the easy physical confidence that some big men had, but his features were fine and sensitive and his eyes were sad. Kingsley found it impossible to dislike the young detective.“Higher, would you?” Kingsley said. “That’s better.”He got down on his hands and knees and crawled under the end of the trunk, Day straining above him. It didn’t occur to him that Day might drop the trunk on his head. Men like Day used their brains to move their muscles about. Their muscles were useful enough.Kingsley inspected the planks of the platform floor, peering into crevices in the ancient wood, worn smooth by the shoes of countless travelers.“Aha!” he said. He scrambled backward until his head was clear of the bottom of the trunk and stood up, using one hand to smooth his waistcoat over his stomach. The thumb and index finger of his other hand were pinched together, and he held them up to the light.Day squinted.“It’s a hair,” he said.“No, lad. It’s a thread. This end is frayed a bit where it’s been cut. Here, you see?”“The same thread used to sew his mouth and eyes?”“Different color. That was black. This is dark blue. It could be a coincidence, someone lost a thread from her coat, perhaps, but I don’t think so. I think your killer came prepared with at least two colors of thread. And why would that be?”He abruptly dropped to the ground and began to crawl around the platform, his magnifying glass playing over the surface, his long fingers poking into the corners where the wall joined the planks of the floor. After several long minutes in which the onlookers behind the railing began to grow restless, Kingsley murmured an exclamation and held his finger up to the light. A drop of blood formed on his fingertip, and Kingsley smiled. He sucked the blood from his finger and turned his magnifying glass around, using the blunt handle to scrape dirt away from the wall.He stood and trotted back to where Day was still holding up an end of the trunk. Kingsley held out his hand, displaying his find for Day to see.“Needles,” Day said.Kingsley grinned. “Three needles, Inspector Day. Three, where one might do. I’d say our killer’s made a telling mistake. Give me your handkerchief.”“Is it in my breast pocket?”“I don’t see one there.”“I may have come out without it today.”Kingsley nodded and turned to the nearest constable.“You there, have you a handkerchief ?”A tall, lanky constable looked up from the side of the platform where he seemed to be scanning the crowd. His eyes were bright and intelligent and nearly hidden behind long feminine lashes. He jumped slightly at the sound of Kingsley’s voice.“What’s your name?” Kingsley said.“Hammersmith, sir.”“You sound Welsh, sir.”“Yes, sir.”“You’re watching the crowd?”“What the detective said, about it being another detective in the box, it surprised people.”“You were looking to see who among that crowd wasn’t surprised. Who might have already known there was a detective in the trunk.”“Yes, sir.”“And?”“I didn’t see anything unexpected.”Kingsley nodded. “Still,” he said, “it was a worthy idea. How long have you been with the force?”“Two years, sir.”“I’m surprised I haven’t made your acquaintance before this. I shall watch your career with interest. Now, I wonder if I might borrow your handkerchief?”“Of course, sir.”“Thank you, Mr Hammersmith.”Kingsley took the offered kerchief and glanced at it. He looked up at the constable.“This is not particularly clean.”“I apologize, sir. I’ve been at it now for two shifts and haven’t had a chance to launder anything.”Indeed, Hammersmith looked sloppy. His blue uniform was wrinkled, his shirt was untucked on one side, and the cuffs of his trousers were muddy. There was a hangdog air about him, but in his body language and bearing he somehow gave the impression of utter competence.“Yes, well, thank you, Hammersmith. I shall return this as soon as I possibly can.”“Of course, sir.”Kingsley wrapped the needles in the soiled square of cloth. He tucked the handkerchief and the short piece of blue thread into his vest pocket to be examined later.“This one is a challenge. A real challenge.”Kingsley smiled and scanned the platform one last time, barely taking in the crowd of onlookers.“Wonderful,” he said. “Simply wonderful. You can let that down now.”Day eased the end of the heavy trunk back to the platform floor and breathed a sigh of relief.“Have two of the men bring that round to the college,” Kingsley said. “I’ll want to examine Little’s body, but I’m not going to do it here. Have the rest of these bobbies search the platform carefully for a man’s left shoe. I suspect it’s in the trunk, but there’s no harm in putting them to work.”Kingsley shrugged back into his coat, picked up his hat, and walked away. Halfway to the far edge of the platform, he turned and walked back to where Day still stood. He leaned in and whispered so the onlookers wouldn’t overhear. “Shut the lid on that trunk,” he said. “We don’t want that rabble ogling a dead detective.”

Editorial Reviews

“Grecian has a talent for capturing gory details…extremely vivid (and strangely moving)…Bounding from the workhouse to the lunatic asylum to the stinking streets, [Grecian] does outstanding descriptive work on the mad and the maimed, the diseased and the demented. If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands for this one, Wilkie Collins surely is.”—The New York Times Book Review “Jack The Ripper has disappeared into the mist of Victorian London. But Scotland Yard—shamed and embarrassed over its failure to catch the taunting madman—must carry on…an absorbing launch pad for a new series built around the detectives who are finding their way in the new business of criminology. Fingerprinting, saving evidence, comparing notes from different crimes to see if there's a pattern, even something as simple as working in pairs are all novel, untested ideas tried out for the first time…[a] mix of historical facts and vivid fictional creations. It's great fun…Grecian's debut is the promising start of a new series and should be one of the most acclaimed and popular mysteries of the year.”—Huffington Post “Alex Grecian's exuberantly grisly serial killer tale set in 1889 London picks up where the Ripper left off.”—The Guardian (UK) “One can almost taste the grit of the city, smell the soot of the chimneys, and hear the clopping of horses’ hooves as the hansoms rumble down cobbled streets. Alex Grecian builds his readers a world in Victorian London and populates it with good guys you’ll want to root for and bad guys you’ll want stopped at any cost. The Yard spans about three days, just the amount of time you’ll need to race through this intriguing debut novel.”—BookReporter.com “Lusciously rich with detail, atmosphere, and history, and yet as fast paced as a locomotive, The Yard will keep you riveted from page one. It’s truly a one—or two—sitting read.”—Jeffery Deaver, author of Carte Blanche and The Bone Collector “A brilliantly crafted debut novel with unforgettable characters. An utterly gripping tale perfectly evokes Victorian London and brings you right back to the depraved and traumatic days of Jack the Ripper.”—Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files “Grecian successfully re-creates the dark atmosphere of late Victorian London.”—Kirkus Reviews “A winner, filled with Victorian arcane and eccentric characters and more humor than one expects from such a work.” —The Rap Sheet “Grecian powerfully evokes both the physical, smog-ridden atmosphere of London in 1889 and its emotional analogs of anxiety and depression. His infusion of actual history adds to this thriller’s credibility and punch. A deeply satisfying reconstruction of post-Ripper London.” —Booklist “This excellent murder mystery debut introduces a fascinating cast of characters. Grecian displays a flair for language as well as creating vivid (and occasionally gruesome) depictions of places and events.”—Library Journal“All the gruesome sights, sounds, and smells of a depraved Victorian London are vividly depicted…not for the squeamish. The characterization is particularly adept, and there’s even the occasional thought-provoking comment on industrialization and metropolitan Victorian society…Add to it all a few genuinely funny moments courtesy of absurdity and human nature, and you have The Yard: a gripping police procedural mystery and cracking good read. Recommended.”—HistoricalNovelSociety.org “I enjoyed every minute of The Yard. If you like gritty crime stories with a psychological thriller edge then you’re in for a treat.”—Popcorn Reads