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Titled Stratton's War in the U.K., this outstanding first in a series set during WWII won Wilson (A Little Death) the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award. In the summer of 1940, Det. Insp. Ted Stratton investigates an apparent suicide that leads him into a maze of brutal gang violence and bland official evasion. Meanwhile, icily beautiful upper-crust Diana Calthrop tries to escape a hateful marriage by devoting herself to MI5 intrigue. At first, playing spy is fun, but she soon finds herself passionately involved with another agent who may be a murderous sociopath. Wilson convincingly evokes what it was like to sleep in a bomb shelter or stumble through shattered London streets in the dark. The characters are convincing, too, especially Ted and Diana in their tentative, unwilling attraction to each other. Wilson also adroitly handles such issues as the treatment of homosexuality as a crime and the government use of the wartime emergency to justify violating personal rights. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.