The Gilded Edge is pure gold from start to finish, with a clever narrative and a very engaging cast of characters.
Set in London in 1965, this second novel from Danny Miller - shortlisted for the 2011 New Blood Dagger - is a fast-paced piece of classic noir and a book that delivers plenty of bang. Kicking off with two murders which may or may not be linked, we follow Detective Vince Treadwell as he investigates them both, stepping close to the edge as he delves deeper and deeper into the dark underworld of London's clubs and gambling establishments, meeting a vast array of colourful characters along the way. Young black nurse Marcy Jones has been brutally killed on one side of town; on the other side high-flying Johnny Beresford has met his demise in his flash Belgravia pad. Femme fatale society girl Isabel Saxmore-Blaine might prove to be a great relationship for Treadwell, or could turn out to be the lady to drag him so deep into the darkness that he might just struggle to stay alive.
The investigation is peppered with humour and period detail, such as a conversation in which drinking and driving is discussed as perhaps not a great idea: 'Apparently they're even thinking of bringing in laws against it'. The 1960s setting of the book also allows for some great music references - Brian Jones is spotted coming out of a Beak Street studio in Soho for instance - and the lack of mobile phones (surely the bane of many a modern crime writer) can only help the intrigue of the plot.
With some whip-cracking dialogue and trenchcoats aplenty, 400 pages are easily spent in the company of Danny Miller's characters, and with its show-stopping, card-gaming, costume-filled finale The Gilded Edge deserves to rise to the very top of the pack.