Historical Mystery, Thriller and Suspense Fiction/British and Irish Historical Literature/British Detective Stories
Having read and enjoyed many of April Taylor’s books, I was eager to see what this new novel had to offer. I was not disappointed.
Moving away from her musical mysteries and alternative history series, she has tackled a subject few really know much about. But, as is the way with this author, she uses an unusual and fascinating route for her tale.
Helen, codename Claudette, worked in France for the SOE during WWII. Her ability to form patterns from the behaviour of others has made her especially useful in the dangerous role. Perhaps too useful, and she is forced to flee when her role as radio operator for the Resistance is exposed. But this story, whilst rooted in that background, is set in London some years after her extraction from that danger. Discovering what seems to be massive fraud, she sets in train a series of events that again threaten her life. But who to trust in a world changed by time and her own mistrust of those she formerly relied on?
As always, April has done extensive research here and we are easily immersed in the post-war world of London in the 1950s. The language, manners and attitudes all convince us of the period. Her characters, whether heroines, heroes, or villains, are relatable and easy to empathise with. Uncertainty, mistrust and increasing danger inhabit the pages, growing as the story unfolds.
The denouement builds slowly, the tension ramping up to the final stages when the reader is unable to put down the book until the inevitable, and greatly satisfying, end is reached.
An absorbing, entertaining, moving, and well-told tale, which I enjoyed from beginning to end.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]