Book Review: The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones

This crime novel, set in and around the Glasgow area, begins and ends on Sunday 29th April 2008. In between, retired Detective John McDaid takes the reader back 30 years and to the day after the brutal murder of student Patrick Hare.

Back in 1978 the young John McDaid is on attachment to CID and part of the team investigating the murder. Through the investigation McDaid interviews Patrick Hare’s father, Francis and it is the beginning of a relationship that develops through the murder case and mutual interests in football and furniture making.

Francis Hare plays football to a good standard for a team called Glenhill and recruits John McDaid to join him. Whilst Glenhill maybe a fictional team, Junior (non-league) clubs in Scotland such as Kilbarchan, Auchinleck Talbot and Kilbirnie Ladeside, get a mention, as do League teams, Montrose, Brechin, Cowdenbeath and Clydebank. For the football minded, there is also a World Cup reference as England beat Scotland, prior to the Scots taking part in the 1978 Finals in Argentina.

Just as football is an interest that builds the relationship between Francis and John, so does furniture making. Francis Hare runs his business from his workshop and overtime, John becomes an apprentice to the cabinetmaker.

However, underpinning all this is the bungled court case which sees the gang charged with Patrick’s murder, walk free. The story follows Francis as he attempts to get justice for his son and as John looks to establish what actually happened and keeps tabs on the lives of the gang after the trial.

This is a gritty read, which captures the feel of 70s police series such as The Sweeney and Life on Mars. However, this isn’t a high-speed chase paced read, but instead is a well-crafted story – reflective of the furniture of Francis Hare – which carries the reader along at its own pace and delivers a fitting ending.


FBR Copyright 20214 All rights reserved.

Posted May 4, 2014 by Editor in category "Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.