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The sixth installment in the Inspector Troy series, Lawton's novel opens in 1938 with Europe on the brink of war. In London, Frederick Troy, newly promoted to the prestigious Murder Squad at Scotland Yard, is put in charge of rounding up a list of German and Italian "enemy aliens" that also includes Frederick's brother, Rod, who learns upon receiving an internment letter that despite having grown up in England he is Austrian-born. Hundreds of men are herded by train to a neglected camp on the Isle of Man. And, as the bombs start falling on London, a murdered rabbi is found, then another, and another. Amidst great war, murder is what matters.
Moving from the Nazi-infested alleys of prewar Vienna to the bombed-out streets of 1940 London, and featuring an extraordinary cast of characters, Lawton's latest brings to life war-torn London. In this uncommon thriller, John Lawton delivers a suspenseful and intelligent novel, as good a spy story as it is a historical narrative.
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- wylie smith
well I had a hard putting this down
I had never read a book with 195 chapters, but the breaks made it easy to set this book down. The writing made putting it down hard to do. Some of the scenes showed mankind at its worst, but Lawton gave most characters - not all - a humanity that made me care about the fate of most of the characters in the book. I read this first in the Inspector Troy series, and I confess that I was most intrigued by his father, and I appreciated the changes in the character his brother, Rod, more than the scenes with the 'protagonist.'
This book gave a brief, but interesting view of Churchill, the rivalries of various branches of law enforcement, the casual inhumanity of the internment of 'enemy aliens,' and the beauty and horror of the bombing of London. Obviously it helps to be an onlooker, rather than a recipient of the bombing damage, but Lawton sheds light on how detachment can change a person's outlook.
I gobbled a 15 hour book in 36 hours which, to me, means a book that captures my attention.