Martin Jensen
A Man's Word
2015

Martin Jensen's A Man's Word (Amazon Crossing) was available free from Amazon in its pre-release Kindle First scheme for UK, but not US members of its Prime premium shopper service. The attraction to the British market is obvious in that it combines a setting in an Anglo-Saxon world, albeit in King Cnut's Danelaw, and an interest in Scandinavian crime fiction. This book was first published in Danish in 2011 and was published in 2015 by Amazon's foreign translations imprint of Amazon Crossing in 2015. Oddly for a book that was primarily marketed at Britain it is translated into American English although that dialect fits well with hard-boiled detective style first person narration. The translation is not helped by the use of some very modern idioms, which is also a problem in other Amazon Crossing translations, so it may be a policy.

The novel is the third in Jensen's King's Hounds series about the crime solving duo of Halfdan and his master Winston, although Winston's wife Alfilda has a stronger role in the plot of this novel than her husband. They have been sent on a spying mission by Cnut to East Anglia and find themselves caught up in a murder investigation in Thetford. The narration style is distracting as Halfdon is constantly commenting on his view of what others have said in the middle of dialogue. There is also too much information dumping about Anglo-Saxon culture.

The mystery itself is a bit of a mystery. The investigation appears to be going nowhere slowly and there is little coherence to that aspect of the narrative. Overall this was not an entertaining read and is more likely to appeal to fans of the historical period than to mystery readers.

© Mercia McMahon. All rights reserved

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