Welcome to Throwback Thursday. I’m linking up with Davida at TCL’s Throwback Thursday Link Party
The Man with No Face was re-published in January 2019. Originally written in 1981 the story is set in the winter of 1979 and is a story of its time.
The Man with No Face encompasses the culture, attitudes and politics of the era and highlights the lack of technology which makes information sharing a lengthier process. We take mobile phones and the internet so much for granted, it’s an interesting reminder of how things were accomplished back in the day. Peter May has painted an atmospheric picture with well defined characters and a dark thread running through the narrative.
Controversial Scottish reporter Neil Bannerman is sent to Brussels, ostensibly to cover the developments following the European Union, but also because his new editor wants him out of the way while he decides what to do with him. Although Bannerman is a good reporter, he isn’t a team player. He’s on the lookout for any scurrilous stories he can dig up. He’s a complex protagonist, with issues from his past impacting on his present life and choices.
Also travelling to Belgium is Kale, a hired assassin and a man hardened by his experiences to the extent he has no feelings of guilt or remorse about what he is being paid to do.
It’s been arranged for Bannerman to stay with Tim Slater, another reporter based in Belgium who lives with his young autistic daughter, Tania. Bannerman hasn’t been in Belgium any length of time before there is a double murder—Slater along with a British Cabinet Minister are shot and killed, the murder witnessed by Tania. The powers that be claim they shot each other but Bannerman has serious doubts, based on Inspector du Maurier’s considerations and a drawing by Tania, showing a man with no face where the murder took place.
The Man With No Face is a political thriller with clandestine intrigue and conspiracies, suspense, murder and just the merest hint of a romance. As Bannerman slowly unearths information surrounding the murdered men, he has no idea of the danger he’s putting himself in as his investigation gains momentum. The edges of his world-weary cynicism are being systematically worn away by the feelings awakened in him by Tania’s carer and his anxiety over Tania herself. This secondary thread of Bannerman’s connection with Tania, and her characterisation, is very well done. Much less was known about autism and the treatments available weren’t particularly helpful at the time of this story. It’s obvious the condition has been well researched.
Peter May always brings his characters and settings to life with detailed, colourful, easy to read and engaging writing.
A REPORTER WITH NO FEAR
1979. Jaded Edinburgh journalist Neil Bannerman is sent to Europe, intent on digging up dirt. Yet it is danger he discovers, when two British men are found murdered.
A CHILD WITH NO FATHER
One victim is a journalist, the other a Cabinet Minister: the double-assassination witnessed by the former’s autistic daughter. This girl recalls every detail about her father’s killer – except for one.
THE MAN WITH NO FACE
With those around him rocked by the tragedy, Bannerman is compelled to follow his instincts. He is now fighting to expose a murderous conspiracy, protect a helpless child, and unmask a remorseless killer.