Sunday, February 20, 2011

Socks and mysteries

freeform cables

Favorite pattern

Just finished Michael Robotham's Bleed for Me, 2010. It was pretty good, but I didn't like his dog getting tortored and killed. Skipped through part of it, didn't hold my interest enough to read completely once the dog was knocked off.

But, I am really enjoying John Layton's Troy mysteries. Listened to Second Violin 2009, and am now reading the first in the series, Black Out, 1995. He jumps all over in time, so it does not matter where you start. I read his latest book first, A Lily of the Field. Like his sense of humour, his reference to growing leeks and potatoes, the music and musicians and his odd detective.
This site (his blog) lists the whole series.
Wikipedia gives an outline too
* Black Out (1995), ISBN 978-0670857678

The story begins during the last stages of the London Blitz in 1944. Troy is assigned to find out who's murdering German scientists who've been secretly smuggled out of Germany and into Britain. Later, Troy tracks his suspect to Berlin in 1948, during the Berlin Blockade. Along the way, he tangles with British and American spy agencies, a Russian spy and a British femme fatale.

* Old Flames (1996), ISBN 978-0871138644

Troy, because he speaks Russian, is assigned to guard Russian Secretary-General Krushchev, during his 1956 visit to Britain. Along with these duties, Troy investigates the death of an ex-navy diver during a curiously botched spy mission.

* A Little White Death (1998), ISBN 978-0753822616

The third Troy novel uses the historical events of the Profumo Affair and the Kim Philby spy scandal of the early 1960s as a jumping-off point for a fictionalized version in which Troy, now risen to Commander in Scotland Yard, discovers that an apparent suicide (of the fictional Stephen Ward-analog character) was really a murder. A second apparent suicide thickens the plot. Most of the historical characters get fictional equivalents, a few appear as themselves, and Christine Keeler becomes a pair of sisters. In the closing Historical Note, however, Lawton explains his historical inspirations and cautions that "This is not a roman à clef." Concurrent with the scandal/spy/murder plot, Lawton interleaves some cultural history on the beginnings of 'swinging London'. The novel's title is a double entendre, referring both to the pills used in the second suspicious suicide and to Troy's life-and-career-threatening battle against tuberculosis.

* Riptide (2001), ISBN 978-0297643456 (Published in the United States (2004) as Bluffing Mr. Churchill)

Lawton backtracks chronologically to the early days of World War II, before Black Out.

* Blue Rondo (2005) (Published in the United States as Flesh Wounds, ISBN 978-0871136985)

Set in the late 1950s.

* Second Violin (2007)[3], ISBN 978-0297851967

Another "prequel" to Black Out, this time back to 1938. The main protagonist this time is Frederick Troy's older brother Rod, working as a reporter for his father's newspaper. Rod travels to Vienna, just in time to witness Kristallnacht. Returning to Britain, he is sent to an internment camp on the Isle of Man because of his Austrian birth and failure to pursue naturalization. During the Battle of Britain, he is freed to become a fighter pilot. Meanwhile, brother Fred investigates the murders of several East End rabbis. The parallel stories eventually converge at the final denouement.

* A Lily of the Field (2010), ISBN 978-0802119568

This novel tells two linked stories, differing in tone and structure, but heading to the same conclusion. The first part, "Audacity", is set in the years 1934-46 in Europe, and has only the briefest mention of Frederick Troy. It is, essentially, the back-story to all that follows. The second part, "Austerity", set in London in 1948, is a more familiar Inspector Troy murder investigation, that, almost inevitably, spills over into Cold War espionage.[4]