Second Violin (Inspector Troy Series)

Second Violin (Inspector Troy Series)

3.3 10
by John Lawton

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One of today’s top historical espionage writers, considered “as good as Le Carré” (Chicago Tribune) and “a master” (Rocky Mountain News), John Lawton adds another spellbinding thriller to his Inspector Troy series with Second Violin. The sixth installment in the series, Lawton’s new novel opens in 1938


One of today’s top historical espionage writers, considered “as good as Le Carré” (Chicago Tribune) and “a master” (Rocky Mountain News), John Lawton adds another spellbinding thriller to his Inspector Troy series with Second Violin. The sixth installment in the series, Lawton’s new 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 he was born in Austria despite having grown up in England. 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. Amid 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 thriller is a suspenseful and intelligent novel, as good a spy story as it is an historical narrative.

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
Second Violin, however, starts with the German invasion of Austria in March of 1938. The narrative proceeds to the onslaught of the Blitz—the massive, sustained German bombing of London—and the heroic defense put up by outnumbered RAF pilots during the Battle of Britain from July to October of 1940. If you are of a certain age, even the mention of those events is deeply moving. Never, as Churchill said, have so many owed so much to so few. It has been Lawton's achievement to capture, in first-rate popular fiction, the courage and drama—and the widespread tomorrow-we-may-die exuberance—of that terrible and thrilling moment in 20th-century history.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Lawton's engrossing sixth entry but the first chronologically in his Inspector Troy thriller series (Black Out, etc.) chronicles the major events leading up to WWII-Germany's annexation of Austria, Chamberlain's peace efforts, Kristallnacht-while providing a disturbing picture of anti-Semitism and class frictions in England at the time. As part of Scotland Yard's murder squad, Insp. Frederick Troy investigates a series of slayings of London rabbis, but various subplots equally intrigue, notably one that unfolds in an internment camp for Germans, Jews and foreigners-including Troy's Austrian-born brother, Rod-rounded up after Britain's entry into the war. At one point, Troy and a lady friend discover the "aphrodisia of war" in Hyde Park, a spot popular with couples for copulation during the blitz. Lawton does a fine job of incorporating such lesser known period details into his saga, though some readers may find he relies too often on deus ex machina for their taste. (Nov.)

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Library Journal

In 1939 Vienna, Freud is permitted to move to London while many other Jews are murdered, Churchill is out of power, and appeasement is the plan. Soon, Jews and German and Italian refugees in London are being sent to internment camps. Newspaper tycoon Alex Troy rails against Prime Minister Chamberlain's policies; his son Rod, a journalist, is interned on the Isle of Man as a noncitizen, and his second son, Frederick, a London cop, is nearly alone in investigating the murders of several rabbis as the Germans begin bombing London in 1940. Frederick suspects a serial murder plot, perhaps by high-profile, anti-Semitic politicians. Lawton has written five novels featuring Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard (A Little White Death), but this sixth is chronologically the first, setting the scene for the established characters in this literate popular series. Lawton is immensely skilled at bringing to life the tensions and fears of London during the Blitz and deftly mixes historical and fictional figures. Weaving complex characters and plot threads from Kristallnacht to Fleet Street, he builds a suspenseful story that long remains in the reader's memory. Highly recommended.
—Roland Person

Kirkus Reviews
Lawton's sixth installment of Frederick Troy's adventures not only goes back in time from previous entries (A Little White Death, 2006, etc.) but also expands its scope from Frederick alone to the equally active lives of his father and brother. In Vienna in the late 1930s, as the violence of the Nazi Party is growing more virulent, the story is covered by Rod Troy, a reporter for The Sunday Post, a newspaper owned by his eminent father, Alexei. Decades ago, Alex also spent years in Vienna, some of them, Rod learns, as a psychiatric patient of the energetic Sigmund Freud. In London, Alex has encounters of his own with Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan et al., concerning the threat of Hitler and the looming war. Alex, himself a Russian emigre, writes a bristling editorial about Russia for the Post as his son Frederick, Rod's brother, continues his ascent to Scotland Yard's Murder Squad. On the eve of Kristallnacht, Rod contemplates ensuring the safety of his family by fleeing Vienna. In London, Alex continues to have Churchill's ear as the government prepares to incarcerate recent immigrants deemed suspicious-a program to be carried out by Frederick and his colleagues. In the midst of this turmoil, as the bombing of London begins, Frederick probes the hit-and-run death of a rabbi that seems an ordinary crime until another rabbi is killed in his own synagogue. History and politics again add depth and texture to Lawton's impressively complex thriller. Agent: Aitken Alexander Associates Ltd.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Inspector Troy Series, #6
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

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Second Violin (Inspector Troy Series) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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ENK More than 1 year ago
Hopefully, the book gets better, but I just couldn't waste another evening waiting for it.
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anthonyj More than 1 year ago
the posted review of the other reviewer is not for this book-poor and tedious plot not much substance other then an insight to pre world war 2 britain
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 669, the High King of the five kingdoms of Eireann Sechnussach is murdered in his compound. The assassin is captured immediately as the monarch¿s kinsman Chieftain Dubh Duin is found in the king's bedchamber. The guards assume a murder suicide occurred though whispers abound that Dubh was so loyal he would kill himself before allowing harm to his liege besides conspiracy theory buffs question how the assassin got the opportunity.-------------- Concerned over rumors that could harm the ascendancy to the throne of Sechnussach`s heir Cenn Faelad, Ireland¿s Chief Brehon assigns Court advocate and royal sister Fidelma of Cashel to investigate. He informs her not to focus on who killed the High King but why Dubh assassinated the High King and how the opportunity arose that enabled him to get past the guards. However, Fidelma quickly realizes Duin had to have insider help, but who close to the High King and his royal guards could have arranged the assassination.--------------- This is a great seventh-century Irish mystery that brings to life the era as much through the judicial legal system. With a superb plausible final twist to cap a fantastic historical investigative medieval thriller, fans will appreciate Fidelma¿s increasingly imperative she solve the entire case before the Five Kingdoms splinter into civil and religious war. Peter Tremayne is at his best in DANCING WITH DEMONS.---------------- Harriet Klausner