By Jane Stevenson
(Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780618049349, 304pp.)
Publication Date: September 2001
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SEVERAL DECEPTIONS, Jane Stevenson's brilliant and highly acclaimed novella collection, was an outstanding literary debut. Now, with her first novel, she again offers readers a work of dazzling intelligence, elegant wit, and keen social observation. An affectionate homage to the classic English detective story, LONDON BRIDGES is set in 1990s London and crafted with a very modern spin. Its plot centers on a treasure lost in the Blitz and newly discovered by an unscrupulous lawyer, who is tempted by greed into a series of crimes leading to murder. A highly contemporary cast of characters assembles to confound him, including a charming and flamboyant gay classicist in hot pursuit of a sixth-century homoerotic poem he hopes will revive his flagging career, a young Indian lawyer fighting British prejudices of race and class, and a very nice dog named Alice. The main character, lovingly depicted, is London itself, in all its rich variousness. Among the novel's themes are the rewards of friendship and community. the imperatives of both preservation and change, and the intertwining, with unexpected effects, of lives in a great city.
A lighthearted work shadowed by moments of genuine pathos, LONDON BRIDGES is wonderfully entertaining. It will captivate readers with its high-spirited, stylish storytelling and playful scholarship.
Bilal Kaafarani is Senior VP, Global Research and Innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company. Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Bilal held leadership roles with PepsiCo International, as well as Tropicana, Proctor & Gamble and Kraft. There he developed the fat free technology that resulted in the highly successful Kraft Free products. He is holder of several patents for breakthrough technologies in the food sector.