Under a different star system, I might have given it three, but I didn't particularly like it. First things first. I've not read anything in the steampunk (or so I'd call it) style before, and the time period (1970s) isn't one I've read much in either.This is the first book in the series that I have picked up, and unfortunately it didn't make much of an impression. That little (if any) time was spent catching up new readers to the characters and situation--which would be great for someone familiar with the series, but it took me awhile to get into the story, and I never cared much for the characters.Speaking of characters, beyond the two main detectives Bryant and May, there is also a random 17 year old they allow to help with the investigation because--? Well, I have no idea, and I found her to be exceedingly annoying. Yes, she has a *deep, dark, horrible, and terribly foreshadowed secret* but frankly, I didn't care. Nor did I have much sympathy when I did. For a real person? Of course. But this is fiction, and the *deep secret* was pretty obvious to a typical reader. Actually, Bryant and May seemed interesting, but there wasn't much of them until late in the book--and then had some pretty pontificating speeches.The jumping perspectives were a little irritating too. Not only did you get the primary two, plus the guest star, but also a section of close 3rd person was granted to every person directly affected by the plot (that is to say, murdered). So when suddenly in someone else's head, that person was (usually) doomed. And two, in particular, gratuitously. And especially the later murders meant little more than an "oh, by the way, there is still suspense; see, people died!" Only that wasn't in the text, there were just more dead people.Also an odd choice, to me, was the initial framing device: Bryant was being interviewed by some nameless, faceless reporter about the case, but he doesn't come back in the end. Is this typical of the series? I don't know, but in a standalone novel, it didn't work.Finally: as a mystery, it's not bad. Serviceably written, standard familiar mystery tropes, decent (primary) characters. Start with another book in the series, it'll probably stand up better.