Uncertainty of Reason — Malcolm Hollingdrake

Caroline Vincent
4 min readDec 30, 2021


In: Book Reviews

The Harrogate Crime Series … just keeps on giving! I loved reconnecting with Cyril Bennett, Julie, David Owen and his Hannah. This eleventh book in the fabulous series is enticing, emotive, engrossing, and exciting.

About the Book

Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.‘ — Aristotle

A murderer is loose on the streets of Harrogate. His initial purpose is to inflict damage, not to cause death. Repercussions of a serious road accident and an abusive childhood haunt the perpetrator. The balance of his mind is disturbed and he experiences moments of intense, irrational anger which override his sanity. The colour red seems to trigger his psychosis. The case is a disturbing one for DCI Bennett and his team.

Welcome to Harrogate.

The Harrogate Crime Series

#1 Only the Dead my review
#2 Hell’s Gatemy review
#3 Flesh Evidence — my review
#4 Game Point my review
#5 Dying Art my review
#6 Crossed Outmy review
The Third Breathmy review
#8 Treble Clef
#10 Fragmentsmy review
#11 Uncertainty of Reason

My Thoughts

Poor Harrogate! Once again it is the scene of a most horrendous crime… but fear not, citizens, for Cyril Bennett, David Owen, and April Richmond are ready to take on the job of finding the killer. You’d think I’m joking but no sir! The way the author describes Harrogate in his eloquent way, it’s easy to recognise each corner and street, know where the body is found, and can imagine Cyril Bennett’s morning walk to the police station…

I felt immediately drawn into the story as it unfolded before my eyes, Chapter One gave already so much food for thought, and ideas of what could happen-how the character in it perhaps could be a future murderer… who knows? What we do know is that Cyril, even if he is promoted, is reluctant to leave the detective work to others. He knows Owen and Richmond are excellent detectives but to manage and solve a case from behind his desk… even if their grey cells match, Bennett is no Hercule Poirot! He wants to be involved in the case.

The touching tribute to Liz, a murdered colleague, was lovely and made me think back to the earlier books in this gripping series. It is a compliment to Malcolm Hollingdrake that he has created life-like characters you feel you know. They have become friends and their behaviour is recognisable to those such as myself who have followed the series from the start.

The case at hand is intriguing and I just loved unravelling the events, clues, and watching the detectives on the trail of a sociopath. Their aim: to inflict pain and cause damage. Their actions are violent and quite horrendous. Murder is only a footstep away. Dark and brutal, the murderer continues his gruesome path. Will the police catch them in time?

The theme of childhood and upbringing in relation to future behaviour is a fascinating topic and once again, Malcolm Hollingdrake does not disappoint. He weaves the red thread of his riveting plotlines with intriguing topics, fascinating insights, and evocative peeks into the personal lives of his main characters. I wish I could share the touching ending with you but I cannot, as you will understand. Suffice to say it was heart-warming and made me sigh and yearn for the next book in the series!

About the Author

You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point, Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route. The author worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm Hollingdrake has never lost his love for his home county, a passion reflected in the settings for all his novels.

Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It is a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the protagonist of the Harrogate Crime Series.

Malcolm Hollingdrake on Social Media:
Author Website: malcolmhollingdrakeauthor.co.uk
FB Page:
Amazon Author Page:

Other Books by Malcolm Hollingdrake

The Merseyside Crime Novels:
Catch as Catch Can — my review

Bridging the Gulfmy review

Caroline Vincent




Caroline Vincent

Publisher @CityStonePress | Writer & Editor | Consultant | Life Coach & Confidante. Passionate about words, curious about life. Free-spirited.