British,  Crime fiction

Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan (Zigic and Ferreira #2)

I was offered a review copy of Eva Dolan’s second novel in the Zigic and Ferreira, Tell No Tales, series a long time ago, actually, last year. I had never heard either of the series or of Dolan, so I thought I would rather wait to learn more about the series before reading the book. It was a huge mistake.

Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan (Zigic and Ferreira #2) - Review

‘Zigic and Ferreira’ stands for DI Zigic and DS Ferreira from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit, and in Tale No Tales they face the mysterious hit-and-run of a young, Eastern-European. It sounds like a no-brainer since the victim’s sister, and actually a few other witnesses, survived the attack. However, the investigation will take Zigic and Ferreira into the UK’s most conservative and nationalist political parties, closely related to neo-nazi groups.

If you have been reading this blog for some time, you can more or less guess my politics. And Tell No Tales makes a fantastic job of highlighting and criticizing the turn to right-wing politics and parties that has plagued Europe in the last decade. Dolan puts her two main detectives – both descendants from migrants and with names that immediately call them out as non-Anglo-Saxons – face to face with the covert racial discourses that have recently gained power. Because, one thing that Dolan makes very clear is that discriminatory political discourses are a subtext to the actual political discourse. It is not often that crime fiction does such a textual and ideological analysis of present-day politics, so I was very pleased to see that current issues are being inscribed in modern crime fiction.

The other thing that called my attention is Dolan’s decision to have two main characters who work at the Hate Crimes Unit instead of at Homicides. I can’t remember any other detective doing this type of job, even though hate crimes – in which I include domestic violence – are an issue, they are not as glamorous or attractive to the reader. In Tell No Tales there is a hard job to do, and although Dolan builds on the glamour of over-worked, over-caffeinated police detective work, she makes it clear that Zigic and Ferreira are facing a disgusting side of society.

So, even though I have not read Zigic and Ferriera #1, I loved Tell No Tales and I highly recommend it anyone who loves crime fiction and wants to diversify their shelves. If you want to read a review about book #1 Long Way Home, Sarah Ward said, after reading it, that Zigic and Ferreira could become her favourite detectives!



  • MarinaSofia

    Yay, so pleased to hear you liked it! This is one of my favourite series too at the moment, because it is so topical and so intelligently written. Eva also has a lovely dense writing style, in which every sentence is packed with meaning, rather than having lots of empty or cliche paragraphs just to make up the number of words (I sometimes do get that feeling with some average crime fiction).

    • Elena

      Now that you say it, Marina. you’re right! It took me quite some time to read Tell No Tales and I think that was one of the reasons: I felt that if I didn’t pay all my attention to the text, I would not understand the ending.

  • crimeworm

    I was the same Elena! Ignored all the talk, and as a result am now just finishing Long Way Home, and have Tell No Tales here too. I think there’s a quote from Denise Mina which says they’re so topical they could have been written next year. It shows how depressing and desperate a life of economic migrancy can be, and how mercenary some can be – renting out a garage for £100 a week? Who ARE these hideously greedy people? In Scotland, the fruit and vegetable farmers my father knows are DESPERATE for migrants to come and work – in peak season, they can earn up to £1000 a week. They say locals won’t do the work – it’s “below them”! It’s a complex issue, and Eva tackles it incredibly skilfully. She’s a great writer, and its a hugely important issue. SO glad, like you, I relented and read her!

    • Elena

      I think Eva has a huge talent for current political issues, and thank you for highlighting the Scottish case, I had no idea. Come back once you’ve finished Long Way Home and let me know how good it is, please 😉

      • crimeworm

        I will! Scotland has a – possibly – unique issue with migrants – we want/need more, skilled and unskilled, as our population is dropping, particularly in some areas – like rural ones, where I live. And it’s the perfect place to bring up children – lots of outdoor stuff to do, practically crime free, a good education system. But that is the opposite of the English parliament’s view. However, if immigration is devolved, then we could welcome people in. I was really shocked at some of the things in Eva’s book – and they weren’t exceptional things, just a case of “that’s the way it is”. She definitely pulls crime fiction out of “genre fiction” – maybe her books should be required reading for MPs?!

    • Elena

      Ow, thank you, Cleo. I think Tell No Tales is very different from other crime fiction you and I usually read, and it is dense and quite tough, but SO good.

Don't forget to share what you think!