By Jane Stevenson
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 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.
JANE STEVENSON was born in London and brought up in London, Beijing, and Bonn. She teaches literature and history at the University of Aberdeen. She is the author of Several Deceptions, a collection of four novellas; a novel, London Bridges; and the acclaimed historical trilogy made up of the novels The Winter Queen, The Shadow King, and The Empress of the Last Days. Stevenson lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
"Interesting charaters, an agreeable setting . . . and accomplished writing . . . an energetic debut." Kirkus Reviews
"A tantalizing mystery . . . an evocative and witty romp thrrough modern London." Library Journal
"Stevenson throws open windows on London history and contemporary society . . . a challenging and rewarding tour." Booklist, ALA
"Ebullient . . . written with such tenderness, wit and brio, and deep affection for London and its people that it is irresistible." Publishers Weekly
"Stevenson, with wit and intelligence, has written a classic English detective novel, a good yarn about greed and murder." Chicago Free Press
"LONDON BRIDGES is WHITE TEETH as it might have been written by Agatha Christie or A.S. Byatt or Evelyn Waugh." The Los Angeles Times
"The true treasure here is Stevenson's motley chorus of characters." The New Yorker