FORGOTTEN BOOKS: BLAYDE R.I.P. BY JOHN WAINWRIGHT!
John Wainwright was a policeman/detective for twenty years in Britain’s Yorkshire area. Between 1965 (when his first novel Death In A Sleeping City was published) and his death in 1995, he wrote eighty crime novels under his own name and also using the pseudonym Jack Ripley.
He is best known as an exponent of the police procedural (All On A Summer’s Day), but his books embrace a wide variety of plots and subjects, from the psychological thriller (Brainwash), to espionage (The Reluctant Sleeper), to the classic puzzle (Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me). He also published two autobiographies, Tail-End Charlie (about his time as a rear-gunner in the RAF) and Wainwright’s Beat (about his police career).
For his police procedurals, Wainwright created a number of series characters, including Chief Inspector Lennox, Inspector Lyle, Superintendant Ralph Flensing, and Superintendant Robert Blayde.
Blayde R.I.P. is the third book in the Superintendent Robert Blayde series and is an excellent example of the type of hardboiled, gritty, realistic, and character driven, police procedural Wainwright regularly produced. Wainwright's ability to bring complex and varied characters to life is what makes his work sing. Coupled with logical and interesting plots, excellent pacing, well-portrayed Yorkshire life, humor, and wisdom.
In Blayde R.I.P., Chief Superintendent Robert Blayde shows why he is one of the toughest and most remarkable of the police detectives brought to life by Wainwright and who have made their way through his novels.
From his training as a rookie through his lifelong war on crime, Blayde’s tale is the story of an ambitious police detective’s rise to power. Blayde is a loner, a man who hates crooks, not a man to toe the line or conform to the letter of established routines. Strewn with episodes of hard-nosed policing – many of them so violent they would have shattered a lesser man than Blayde – Blayde RIP is a riveting tale about what makes a police detective tick and how far he will go when confronted with his worst nightmare.
Wainwright’s work is somewhat hard to find today. All On A Summer’s Day appears to be his only novel still in print, but many of his titles can be found used and are well worth seeking out.
STEVE COLE at the Hay Festival, May 27
6 minutes ago