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Without the Moon

Written by Cathi Unsworth

  • 352 Pages
  • 9781487000806
  • 8" x 5.25"
  • FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
  • FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Traditional British



Publication Date July 02, 2016

Hush, hush, hush

Here comes the Bogeyman . . .

London during the long, dark days of the Blitz: a city outwardly in ruins, weakened by exhaustion and rationing. But behind the blackout, the old way of life continues: in the music halls, pubs, and cafés, soldiers mix with petty crooks, stage magicians with lonely wives, scandal-hungry reporters with good-time girls — and DCI Edward Greenaway keeps a careful eye on everyone.

But out on the streets, something nastier is stirring: London's prostitutes are being murdered, their bodies left mutilated to taunt the police. And in the shadows Greenaway's old adversaries in organized crime are active again, lured by rich pickings on the black market. As he follows a bloody trail through backstreets and boudoirs, Greenaway must use all his skill — and everything he knows about the city's underworld — to stop the slaughter.

Based on real events, Without the Moon is an atmospheric and evocative historical crime novel demonstrating Unsworth's masterful grasp of the genre.


Cathi Unsworth
Cathi Unsworth began a career in journalism at nineteen and has since worked for many music, arts, film, and alternative lifestyle journals. She has been called the “Queen of Noir” in the United Kingdom and is the author of four other novels: Weirdo, The Not Knowing, The Singer, and Bad Penny Blues. She is also the editor of the award-winning compendium London Noir. She lives in London.


"Few writers can match her extraordinary capacity to capture the atmosphere of a louche, bygone London and the mood of its people . . . Unsworth paints a mesmerizing picture as DCI Edward Greenaway wanders through the blacked-out city." The Times

"Cathi Unsworth has long been one of the most intriguing crime writers in the country . . . [She] has created a brilliant, swirling maelstrom of a story. The main strength in Unsworth’s writing has always been her terrific evocation of time and place, and she really plays to that strength here. The vision of London after nightfall is amazing, an intermingling of prostitutes, spivs, pimps, villains, cops, communists, soldiers, journalists and psychics, hanging out in dark alleyways, dodgy bars, seedy hotels. The sense of despair is palpable . . . Without the Moon is a wonderfully evoked piece of period noir, and a properly gripping story to boot." Independent

"Brilliant and brave, Without the Moon blends murder and magic to create a vision of London as a spiritual maze. Prostitutes, psychopaths, detectives, villains, and psychics move through its corridors, glimpsing heaven and hell in an atmosphere that is so charged it can almost be touched. Fact and fiction link as justice is demanded. The best work yet from a genuine, original talent." John King, author of The Football Factory and Human Punk

"It practically out Hamiltons Patrick Hamilton in its sense of menace and place, conducting a kind of séance with that bombed-out but brassy London of the war-torn 1940s. On each page you can practically smell the cheap scent, powder, Brilliantine, and black-market whiskey." Travis Elborough, author of London Bridge in America and The Long Player Goodbye

"I love Cathi Unsworth's writing. Based on two true crimes in war-torn London, Without the Moon is totally gripping. I couldn't put it down and can't recommend this book enough. Read it!" Martina Cole, author of The Take

"“Without the Moon is a tense and eerie thriller set during the Blitz. It is full of atmosphere and suspense with an engaging cast of characters, especially DCI Edward Greenaway. I hope he returns again soon.”" Peter Robinson

"a terrific mood piece and a fine wartime thriller" Booklist

"Cathi Unsworth is a British crime writer who's not as well known in the U.S., says Mysterious Bookshop employee Steve Viola — but she should be. And Without the Moon, published in the U.K. last year and newly released here, is a terrific place to start. This noir book is based on a series of true crimes, including four murders perpetrated by the so-called Blackout Ripper, that took place during the 1942 Blitz and blackouts in London. With this material for a foundation, Unsworth puts her fictional Detective Chief Inspector Edward Greenaway of Scotland Yard in charge of the investigations, which grow to include a fifth murder by a copycat killer (also drawn from real life). Throughout, Greenaway must navigate the bombed city's nighttime underworld of criminals and other unsavories. "Her sense of period really captures London during the war, and the characters are interesting," says Viola. "It's a wonderful read."" The Week

"…[an] eerie new thriller further cements her reputation as Britain’s Queen of Noir…elegantly crafted." Postmedia News Network

"Here’s another English crime writer (and ex-journalist) arriving to show how it’s done — “it’’ being the creation of a compellingly readable, not-a-word-wasted, vividly atmospheric novel that, as the Brits are apt to do, sets another high bar….Shifting among perspectives to keep the tale leaping smartly, and translating the senses — seeing, hearing, touching, smelling — from writer to reader, she shapes reason, passion, and a great many facts into a fiction that feels utterly true." London Free Press

"It is a thoroughly absorbing venture into a past where Londoners were stretched to their breaking point and order threatened to disappear." Reviewing the Evidence