The drop, a seemingly innocent envelope passed from one person to another in a London café, sets off a chain of dramatic events. Caught in the fall-out are John Bachelor, who spends most of his time managing retired spooks and needs to re-establish his credentials, Hannah Weiss who is just beginning to enjoy life as a double agent and Lech Wicinski, an Intelligence Service analyst, who finds that favours often lead to trouble. An intriguing and typically clever Slough House novella.
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At the start of the Second World War Juliet Armstrong, just eighteen years old, is surprised and excited to be recruited to MI5 but the operation she is assigned to turns out to be both dull and alarming. Ten years later her war work unexpectedly catches up with her but now she is no longer a naïve teenager. A magnificent story of war and its consequences.
Dr Matthew Shardlake is not an obvious hero; the lawyer’s hunchback often makes him the subject of mockery but his charm and brain make him one of the most interesting detectives in fiction. C. J. Sansom’s atmospheric descriptions of Tudor life complement the sleuthing and will transport you back in time. This is the seventh story in the series and takes place two years after the death of Henry VIII. Against a backdrop of religious upheaval, war, economic collapse and rebellion, Matthew Shardlake must investigate the murder of Edith Boleyn, a distant relative of the future Queen Elizabeth.
When Captain John Lacroix returns home from fighting in Spain in 1809 he is a troubled man. Desperate to escape his memories of the things he witnessed during the retreat from Napoleon’s forces he travels to the Hebrides in search of peace but both the English and Spanish are trailing him, determined that he shall not find that peace. An atmospheric and thrilling chase ensues.
The Moth, the Darter, a largely absent mother and a father working abroad: these are the characters that surround the teenage Rachel and Nathaniel in 1945; people who crossed legal and moral boundaries during the war but now find them closed. Nathaniel enters the Intelligence Service, largely to solve the mysteries of his youth and it is his memories and discoveries which are at the heart of this intriguing novel. After seven years Michael Ondaatje is back at his very best.
In his twelfth novel Simon Mawer returns to Czechoslovakia, 1968. The brief freedom of The Prague Spring has enticed two English students there for the summer and Sam Wareham at the British Embassy and Lenka Konecková, a Czech student, are similarly inspired by the hopes and ideas emerging in the city. But the Red Army is massing on the borders and peace is shattered by an invasion which engulfs the fragile lives of individuals.
The Grossmiths’ marvellous spoof diary tells the story of Mr Pooter, clerk, of Holloway, North London, who is definitely not a ‘somebody’ but who believes his life to be as interesting as anyone else’s. The irony and wit of the writing makes it one of the greatest comic novels.
‘I was doomed to still further humiliation. I was leaning out of the box, when my tie – a little black bow which fastened on to the stud by means of a new patent – fell into the pit below. A clumsy man not noticing it, had his foot on it for ever so long before he discovered it. He then eventually picked it up and flung it under the next seat in disgust. …. To hide the absence of the tie I had to keep my chin down the rest of the evening, which caused a pain at the back of my neck.’
‘The book was greeted with a great shout of laughter when first published in 1892, and this laughter has gone on continuously ever since’ Sir John Squire in the introduction to the Everyman 1940 edition