Academic returns to the mean streets of London

Published: 8 January 2019 at 13:25

Cover of The Murder Pit by Mick Finlay

The Murder Pit, Mick Finlay’s follow-up to hit novel Arrowood, is released on 10 January

Anglia Ruskin University psychologist Dr Mick Finlay is returning to the dangerous streets of Victorian London for the follow-up to his hit novel Arrowood

The Murder Pit, released by HQ Harper Collins on Thursday, 10 January, sees private detective and self-taught psychologist William Arrowood called upon to solve a missing person case that soon turns into a grisly murder investigation. 

The book is set in 1896 when Sherlock Holmes has once again hit the headlines, successfully solving mysteries for the cream of London society.  Arrowood, meanwhile, is plying his trade in the workhouses and pudding shops of the city, where he’s offered grittier, more violent, and considerably less well-paid cases.  

The Murder Pit sees Arrowood and his assistant Barnett head out of the city in an attempt to find a London couple’s estranged daughter.  And far from the comfort of Baker Street, it’s at a farm in Catford where things quickly begin to turn nasty.

And for this latest slice of Victorian noir, Dr Finlay is drawing heavily on his academic expertise with The Murder Pit dealing with the treatment of people with learning difficulties in the late 19th century, eugenics, and the asylum system. 

Dr Finlay, Reader in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, said:


“My new book covers topics that I’ve been researching for a number of years as an academic, such as the treatment of people with Down’s syndrome.  

The Murder Pit is also the first time that you hear from Sherlock Holmes himself.  Although they don’t meet in person, there is correspondence between Arrowood and the famous detective, and hopefully it will meet with approval from Sherlock fans.”

The original Arrowood novel, which has been translated into 11 languages, has received worldwide acclaim.  It was named as one of the top 100 summer books by The Times, who said it “crackles with energy and wit”.

The Seattle Times selected it as one of their “10 of the Summer’s Hottest Crime Fiction Titles”, while The Spectator said: “Arrowood is a fantastic creation, sweating, beetroot red of face, his stomach bulging, but he works with subtlety — decoding emotions, reading expressions and gestures, seeking evidence in the things that are said, or unsaid, understanding human psychology...” 

Dr Finlay’s creation is also in the process of being adapted for the screen by dramatist David Eldridge.  Production company Cave Bear, part of Endemol Shine, have bought the television rights and actress Kathy Burke is on board as executive producer.