by Charlotte Reads Classics

Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd

Well. This book… No other book like it. My copy is the rather excitingly designed penguin decades edition. The plot of this book is strange but appealing- Ackroyd turns the real life Nicholas Hawksmoor into Nicholas Dyer – architect of seven churches built on human sacrifice. Nicholas Hawksmoor becomes a policeman in the 1980s (when the book was written) who is investigating modern day murders on the sites of these churches.

Sound good? I thought so. However, I’m not sure whether Peter Ackroyd is so clever that this book was totally lost on me, or whether he is the kind of writer that is so clever he wants to show off everything he can do at once, rather than spinning a good yarn. Nicholas Hawksmoor is the least developed title character I have ever come across!

The best bit about this book is probably the doubles throughout – every character in the 1600s has a parallel in the eighties, every conversation is repeated in some form, everything is mirrored. It seems as though the murders that take place in the modern day are repeats of the murders in the past: time is cyclical, the city creates the same scenarios, people never change.