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Paperback, 2002
Chime, The
Johnson, Clive
U.K.: Authors on Line. 2002.
233pp. [Fiction]
ISBN: 075520042X

Casebook Review:

The Chime is an independent publication, and as such it suffers a bit from the usual pitfalls of self-publication; namely, the lack of a professional editor. Most disruptive to the reader is the style in which The Chime is written. Dialogue makes up the vast majority of the text, and it is often difficult to keep track of who is speaking at any given moment. The inclusion of multiple flash-backs and "mental re-creations" ping-pongs the reader between past, future and present, often without proper transitions to warn its befuddled reader.

If you are able to follow the dialogue and keep abreast of time and place, however, there will be much left to enjoy in this rather unique book.

The story revolves around Colin Swift, a fictionalized version of real-life P.C. Ernest Thompson, who discovered Frances Coles' lifeless body in swallow Gardens in 1891. Swift was derided by several of his colleagues for not having taken chase to Coles' killer immediately after his discovery, and as a result Swift feels duty-bound to uncover the Ripper's true identity. He tours the murder sites with fellow P.C. Fred Seymour, who fills Colin in on the gory details. Colin transfers himself back to 1888 at each scene, in an attempt to re-enact and better understand each murder. At each scene he picks up numerous details, and he begins to formulate his theory as to the killer's true identity.

Recommended.