Second Violin

Second Violin

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March 1938. The Germans take Vienna without a shot being fired. Covering Austria for the English press is a young journalist named Rod Troy. Back home his younger brother joins the CID as a detective-constable. November 1938. Kristallnacht. The Jews leave Vienna - Sigmund Freud with an American escort on a sleeper train, Josef Hummel tied to the underside of a boxcar. June 1940. Sergeant Troy is seconded to Special Branch to help in the round-up of 'enemy' aliens, among whom are Hummel and his brother Rod. Rod and Hummel are interned on the Isle of Man ...meanwhile a lunatic is killing rabbis in the East End of London. Troy asks for time off from Special Branch to return to his true calling ...Murder. London is now under siege, from German bombers, from its own prejudices and paranoias. Is London any better than Vienna?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 111 x 178mm
  • Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0753824507
  • 9780753824504

Review Text

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. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Review quote

'Lawton's writing is hypnotic...he deserves to be ranked with the best' Birmingham Post 'Unputdownable narrative of spying, sexual intrigue, political scandal and murder...a haunting novel, transcending the bounds of genre fiction' A.N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph * 'Flawlessly recreates the tensions of a society teetering on the brink of a social and sexual revolution. Lawton's trick is to take the threads of history and weave them into his own tapestry' The Times"
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About John Lawton

John Lawton has spent the last ten years making television programmes, mostly for Channel 4, and editing volumes of H. G. Wells' work. He is the author of the Detective-Sergeant Troy series of crime novels. He lives in Derbyshire.
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