Shamus Dust is Janet Roger’s entry into 1947-48 London, feeling its way after WWII.

It’s noir of the highest order, with a darn good mystery linking the story of an American PI, Newman, who is called out Christmas morning on an unlikely errand.

A nurse has found the body of a young man in the church’s porch where she’s gone to light candles before her shift starts.

With Newman’s instincts on alert, he finds an unlikely helpmate in the form of the temporary medical examiner over the holidays. Before he can blink, the murders have escalated, and Newman has an uncanny knack for being either the body’s finder or uncomfortably close to them at the time of their demise.

What follows is a cat and mouse game of the highest order. Big financiers trying to capitalize on the war rebuilding efforts vie with historical archeologists. Woman who marry for all the wrong reasons are contrasted with men who like other men and even others who take advantage of that.

And then there are the Councilors, the police Superintendent, and the detectives who may or may not be on the right side of the law. Because which is the right side in these times?

The element that is immediately apparent and elevates this from any other noir PI mystery is Roger’s use of language. Supple and as elegant as a silk gown worn without undies, her descriptions and prose flows and puts the reader squarely in the era.

If you like the era, or PI novels, or noir, or just damn good writing, this one’s for you.