John Lawton, Old Flames

ImageOld Flames is the second of John Lawton’s Inspector Troy mysteries, this time set in 1956, during an unprecedented official visit by Nikita Khrushchev. Troy, whose unusual background includes a very thorough knowledge of Russian, is pressed into service as an interpreter, security specialist, and quondam spy as a member of Khrushchev’s official British escort. Along the way, he meets (and even marries!) an old flame, is involved in a scandal that reaches all the way up to Prime Minister Anthony Eden and has transatlantic implications, and with all that, is required to solve the murder of a rather unpleasant middle-aged man.

Although I don’t seem to warm up to Lawton’s characters, I do find his novels suspenseful and engaging in terms of plot. I probably wouldn’t read them again (once I know the twist of a mystery, I need to love the characters to want to re-read) but they’re well worth at least one read. I shall be forging on with the series!

(Read from March 19-March 21, 2010)

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