Read Second Violin by John Lawton Free Online
Book Title: Second Violin|
The size of the: 625 KB
Edition: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Date of issue: August 9th 2007
ISBN 13: 9780297851967
The author of the book: John Lawton
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books Second Violin:First off, this is billed as a hunt for a killer bumping off rabbis in the first year or so of the Second World War. That's not really what this novel's about. Mr Lawton's first love is characters rather than action, so if you're after a straight-down-the-line murder mystery, this is probably not for you.
Although this is part of the Troy series, most of the novel focuses on characters other than Troy.
It follows Troy's older brother Rod in Vienna during Kristallnacht, in an internment camp on the Isle of Man and finally into the skies of southern England during the desperate days of the Battle of Britain. We also see a good deal of Alex Troy meeting with political cronies, including Winston Churchill.
There are a fair few non-Troys too. The most affecting for me was Josef Hummel, a Jewish tailor in Vienna. Through his eyes, we see the behaviour of the Nazis before and during Kristallnacht. We also see his journey through Europe to London and his internment alongside Rod Troy. One of the most colourful characters is Cockney tailor Billy Jacks, who turns out to be less Cockney in origin than you might suspect.
Lawton also weaves in many familiar characters: Onions and Bonham of the Metropolitan Police; Walter Stilton and his daughter Kitty; grumpy Polish pathologist Kolankiewicz; and Nazi officer Wolfgang Stahl.
The novel moves from 1938 to 1940, covering the beginning of the Second World War and ending during the Blitz. John Lawton paints an evocative picture of the burning city and the swarms of bombers bringing bellyfuls of death. As ever in his books, London is as much a character as any of the people.
Troy himself is a 24-year-old, newly promoted sergeant in this book. He's only just begun his career in Scotland Yard's Murder Squad when he finds himself commandeered by Special Branch to round up enemy aliens in the East End. Those aliens seem to consist entirely of Jewish, German or Austrian tailors, doctors and professors. Troy's not at all happy with his new role and incurs the wrath of the Special Branch inspector he's temporarily reporting to.
The murder plotline doesn't really kick in until the final third of the book. Up until then, the focus is on Vienna, the round-up and internment of undesirable aliens, and Troy's uncanny knack of getting women to bed him practically the minute they clap eyes on him.
I enjoy reading John Lawton's books. I love his ear for dialogue. However, although generally billed as Inspector Troy of Scotland Yard, increasingly the detective aspect of the story is taking a back seat. In fact, Freddie Troy himself is relegated to only 40-50% of the story. Instead, he appears to have developed a love of embellishing the back stories for many of the other characters.
The Troy series jumps about in its own timeline, so it'll be interesting to see which era Lawton focuses on next.
Read information about the authorJohn Lawton is a producer/director in television who has spent much of his time interpreting the USA to the English, and occasionally vice versa. He has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter and Kathy Acker. He thinks he may well be the only TV director ever to be named in a Parliamentary Bill in the British House of Lords as an offender against taste and balance. He has also been denounced from the pulpit in Mississippi as a `Communist,’ but thinks that less remarkable.
He spent most of the 90s in New York – among other things attending the writers’ sessions at The Actors’ Studio under Norman Mailer – and has visited or worked in more than half the 50 states. Since 2000 he has lived in the high, wet hills ofDerbyshire England, with frequent excursions into the high, dry hills of Arizona and Italy.
He is the author of 1963, a social and political history of the Kennedy-Macmillan years, six thrillers in the Troy series and a stand-alone novel, Sweet Sunday.
In 1995 the first Troy novel, Black Out, won the WH Smith Fresh Talent Award. In 2006 Columbia Pictures bought the fourth Troy novel Riptide. In 2007 A Little White Death was a New York Times notable.
In 2008 he was one of only half a dozen living English writers to be named in the London Daily Telegraph‘s `50 Crime Writers to Read before You Die.’ He has also edited the poetry of DH Lawrence and the stories of Joseph Conrad. He is devoted to the work of Franz Schubert, Cormac McCarthy, Art Tatum and Barbara Gowdy. (source: http://www.johnlawtonbooks.com)
He was born in 1949 in England.
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