By John Lawton
Grove Press, Paperback, 9780802144317, 419pp.
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
One of today's top historical espionage writers, considered as good as Le Carre ("Chicago Tribune") and a master ("Rocky Mountain News"), John Lawton adds another spellbinding thriller to his Inspector Troy series with "Second Violin." The sixth installment in the series, Lawton's new novel opens in 1938 with Europe on the brink of war. In London, Frederick Troy, newly promoted to the prestigious murder squad at Scotland Yard, is put in charge of rounding up a list of German and Italian enemy aliens that also includes Frederick's brother, Rod, who learns upon receiving an internment letter that he was born in Austria despite having grown up in England. Hundreds of men are herded by train to a neglected camp on the Isle of Man. And as the bombs start falling on London, a murdered rabbi is found, then another, and another. Amid great war, murder is what matters. Moving from the Nazi-infested alleys of prewar Vienna to the bombed-out streets of 1940 London, and featuring an extraordinary cast of characters, Lawton's latest thriller is a suspenseful and intelligent novel, as good a spy story as it is an historical narrative.