Second Violin, however, starts with the German invasion of Austria in March of 1938. The narrative proceeds to the onslaught of the Blitzthe massive, sustained German bombing of Londonand 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 dramaand the widespread tomorrow-we-may-die exuberanceof that terrible and thrilling moment in 20th-century history.
The Washington Post
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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
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.