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Book Birthday Blitz ‘n’ Review – The Automobile Assassination (Audiobook)

The Automobile Assassination

A 1940s mystery

Erdington, September 1944

As events in Europe begin to turn in favour of the Allies, Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is once more prevailed upon to solve a seemingly impossible case.

Called to the local mortuary where a man’s body lies, shockingly bent double and lacking any form of identification, Mason and O’Rourke find themselves at Castle Bromwich aerodrome seeking answers that seem out of reach to them. The men and women of the royal air force stationed there are their prime suspects. Or are they? Was the man a spy, killed on the orders of some higher authority, or is the place his body was found irrelevant? And why do none of the men and women at the aerodrome recognise the dead man?

Mason, fearing a repeat of the cold case that dogged his career for two decades and that he’s only just solved, is determined to do all he can to uncover the identity of the dead man, and to find out why he was killed and abandoned in such a bizarre way, even as Smythe demands he spends his time solving the counterfeiting case that is leaving local shopkeepers out of pocket.

Join Mason and O’Rourke as they once more attempt to solve the impossible in 1940s Erdington.

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Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, as well as three twentieth-century mysteries. Raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the author’s writing destiny was set.

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My Review

As a Brummie and avid fan of historical fiction, I couldn’t turn down the audiobook version of The Automobile Assassination, if only to see how the local dialect was conveyed. Well, the narration was excellent – such a soothing yet perfect-for-the era voice – and the dialect, pretty good taking into account that Erdington at that time was a more rural area. So, it was off to a flying start for me.

Chief Inspector Sam Mason is in need of a challenge, but the latest case assigned to him does not appeal – that of counterfeit coupons infiltrating the area and causing much angst amongst businesses. The government has refused to accept the fake ration coupons, leaving the butcher, baker etc out of pocket. Besides, Mason thinks the sergeant running the case is making sufficient progress to not require his input.
Meanwhile, there’s a to do with the AA (The Automobile Association) who seem to be helping their members avoid speed traps, which is just not on! 😉
Mason is finding things a little dull, so when a body is found near Castle Bromwich aerodrome, this case is more to his liking. With no identification on the victim, Mason begins his investigation with the help of Sergeant Clara O’Rourke. But at the nearby air base, they say the man is not one of theirs and rumours abound that the victim might be a spy who’s come a deadly cropper. On top of that, there is no vehicle and the body is bent double at the most awkward angle. Questions, questions!
However the investigation seems to hit a dead end, and it is only when they follow up with the AA that potential clues appear that might solve the matter of who the victim was … but they’re still no further forward with finding out how, or indeed why the man died, let alone if there is a killer at large.

Mason and O’Rourke make a great team, in fact the police officers are a capable (if plodding along nicely) bunch apart from Mason’s boss – Superintendent Smythe whose passive-aggressive stance sees Mason once more diverted away from the case of the dead body in favour of the counterfeiting case that is gathering steam locally.
Nonetheless, Mason will not give up and he and O’Rourke follow up their enquiries up to a point where things really take off. There’s some undisclosed shenanigans at the AA headquarters, and even criminals with guns… suddenly Erdington is no longer the quiet rural place is used to be. Add in the intrigue of the AA shelters where members can call for assistance and fill up (from a jerry can) if they’re out of petrol, the mysterious locked shelter and several maps hidden in dark recesses of said shelters (that fuel the idea of spies being at large) and you have a compelling mystery on your hands.

A fab mystery, great characters, lovely historical touches and knowledge, and the most excellent narrator. I so enjoyed this that I am off to check out the case that boosted Mason’s reputation – The Custard Corpses – and I’ll add author, MJ Porter to my list of those to follow.

As always,

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2 thoughts on “Book Birthday Blitz ‘n’ Review – The Automobile Assassination (Audiobook)

  1. Thank you so much for hosting The Automobile Assassination on your blog. It’s always a bit terrifying when someone who knows the area reads the book. Hopefully, I didn’t make too many mistakes with locations and landscapes:)

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