Old City Hall

och At 5:28 each morning Gurdial Singh, a retired chief engineer for Indian Railways, drops off a newspaper at the door of Toronto broadcaster Kevin Brace – the host of a nationally syndicated morning show. This day however will not be like the others.

‘Mr Kevin’s’ condo door is half-way open as usual however Mr Kevin is not waiting to take the paper and engage Mr. Singh in their usual morning ritual. Mr Singh hesitates and then drops the newspaper heavily to the floor. Suddenly from inside the condo there are footsteps – Kevin Brace steps into the hallway and whispers: “I killed her Mr Singh.”

So the story begins in this debut book by Robert Rotenberg a Toronto lawyer whose background includes English literature and law degrees at the University of Toronto, cab driver, magazine publishing, film executive and CBC Radio. At the age of 37 he began practicing criminal law – a craft he has been working at for more than 20 years.

As much as this book is about a murder it is again as much about the people who inhabit Toronto. As each character is introduced you are clearly shown the ethnic diversity of the city. From the Polish father of detective Ari Greene, to the experiences of Crown prosecutor Albert Fernandez, whose bride is taking English as a second language classes.

This is an easy, engaging and satisfying read however, the one criticism I have is that it is too obviously constructed to lay the ground work for a second book. A bit more of a deft hand in that aspect would be an improvement. As it is, we are left knowing without doubt that there will be a sequel. Hoping there is a second book is preferable don’t you think?

The style of this story is firmly the author’s – it is easy to immerse yourself from the first page. If you enjoy putting together a puzzle while at the same time being adroitly diverted into lives of the characters, you will enjoy this book.

  One thought on “Old City Hall

  1. November 22, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Sounds interesting. Off to check if it’s available on Kindle.

    • November 22, 2013 at 11:19 PM

      And the answer is yes: http://www.amazon.com/Old-City-Hall-Robert-Rotenberg-ebook/dp/B004VMGBII

      But at that price it will have to stay on my wish list.

      • November 22, 2013 at 11:25 PM

        It seems the price depends on where you live. In Australia it’s US$12.17, but in the US it’s only US$7.59. I hope the price in Canada is better than here in Australia. Makes so sense. :/

      • November 24, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        In CDA it is $4.99 right now – might possibly be licensing issues but that is a guess on my part.

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