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Riptide by John Lawton
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Ran out of time when originally borrowed in October 2013. A clever blend of fiction woven around a sliver of historical fact. Set largely in London in 1941 it tells the story of a US controller of a German spy who flees to London just before becoming unmasked and the hunt to find him before the Germans can kill him. ( )
  edwardsgt | Oct 28, 2013 |
4 1/2 stars, completed 6/13, Bluffing Mr. Churchill is my 6th Troy novel, leaving only Lily of the Field. BMC focuses for the first 2/3 on an American officer dispatched from his embassy office in Switzerland to London, to find Stahl,a direct report to Heydrich, and recently missing from the German command. Supposedly a spy to the West, run by the American Cal Cormick. Cal meets Kitty, Stilton's daughter once he is palmed off by his Brit contacts to Special Branch Stilton. Thus begins an interesting and clever hunt for Stahl thru bombed London. As usual a host of interesting characters and dead bodies are intro'd. Troy finally comes on the scene and ultimately saves the day but not before getting wounded for at least the 6th time. Troy meets Anna for the first time, Kolancziewitxztk new asst. The Bluff has to do with whether or not Churchill will warn Russia one last time that they are about to be invaded by the Germans, a threat that Stalin pays no attention. Hate to see this series end. Hope there are more books circa 40's post-Lily. ( )
  maneekuhi | Jun 13, 2011 |
My third of John Lawton's series about Inspector Troy of Scotland Yard. I love Lawton's books. At least, each one I have read, so far, and I cannot imagine, at this point, that he will ever let me down.

Lawton creates great characters. Not just the principle characters, but all sorts of minor players that they encounter. All of of them have a distinct personality and a "reality" that takes them beyond being mere plot devices. And you learn, with your first book, not to ignore ANYONE because even the most tangential person at one point may show up later in the book, or a later episode of the Troy sage.

That saga begins just prior to the outbreak of World War II, with Second Violin, and I recommend beginning with that book. (The books in the Inspector Troy series were not written and published in the chronological order of the stories, so don't set out to read them by the order of publication dates.

Lawton is a master of weaving actual historical characters into the fabric of his tale, always in a believable way. He also does a wonderful job of showing us what was like to live in London during "the Blitz," or flee from a mob of Brownshirts in pre-War Germany.

I intend to read the whole series, with relish, and am trying to space them out so the available material won't be exhausted to soon. My highest of recommendations. ( )
1 vote thejazzmonger | Apr 7, 2011 |
John Lawton's highly enjoyable Frederick Troy series stands out for several reasons. Troy, the son of a powerful newspaper publisher, doesn't quite fit into the stereotypical English mold. As to be expected, he is literate and articulate, cultured and moral, but our Freddie is no James Bond or even Albert Campion. He is merely Freddie, caught between his Russian heritage, the English environment and his education, and his own inclinations.

'Bluffing Mr. Churchill' (or `Riptide' in Britain) is set in a wartime London. And Frederick Troy is for most of the novel a minor character. (Lawton, it appears enjoys tweaking the 'rules' of series writing: his Troy novels aren't chronological, Troy we're told at one point resembles James Mason [shudder!], sympathetic characters sometimes fall afoul of the villains, and Troy doesn't always make the best decisions.) And here, the majority of the novel is devoted to other characters.

Briefly, 'Bluffing Mr. Churchill' is the story of Captain Cal Cormack, a bespectacled and seemingly ingenious American soldier and his partner, Chief Inspector Stilton, possibly the most delightful copper the reader will ever encounter. The pair is trying to beat Nazi assassins to Wolfgang Stahl, an American-run German agent who is somewhere in London.

Lawton's 1941 London comes alive. The devastation of the air raids, the pervading grief at the loss of life among both civilians and the military, the disruption of the social order and the undermining of the certainty that life as it has been will continue are carefully juggled with the English ability to find honor and courage and humor in the worst of situations. Lawton's novel is in many ways an entertaining social history rendered with sympathy and humor.

Five Stars. The bottom line: `Bluffing Mr. Churchill' is indeed a well written mystery set in World War II London and should have great appeal for those who enjoy period mysteries, but it is so much more. It is also a striking portrait of London and its people. ( )
  dianaleez | Feb 13, 2011 |
I enjoyed this, but it was a sort of strange book. I didn't really get the title. The main character, of which this book is part of his series, doesn't show up until like chapter 20. But it did have some scenes that were really well done, and the spirit of the upper class British during the war was great, "there's no Season". I have another of his to try out. ( )
  Neilsantos | Oct 8, 2010 |
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for Sheena McDonald - back from the edge -
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First published in England, 2001, as "Riptide".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143034324, Mass Market Paperback)

With his Frederick Troy series, John Lawton has been compared to such top historical espionage writers as John le Carré and Len Deighton. Now, in this prequel to Black Out, Lawton transports readers to 1941 London during the German Blitz, brilliantly re-creating the era of ration tickets, air raids, and bomb shelters.

Wolfgang Stahl, an American spy operating undercover as an SS officer, has fled Germany with Hitler’s secret blueprints for the invasion of Russia. As American, British, and German operatives race through war-torn London in search of the spy, bodies begin to pile up and the question arises: Are Stahl and his American contact being played by one of their own? In this game of spy vs. spy, only Sergeant Troy of Scotland Yard will be shrewd enough to uncover the truth.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:12 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"1941. Britain, alone since Dunkirk; Russia, on the brink of war; America, struggling to stay neutral. And in London Wolfgang Stahl, an American spy, late of the SS, is on the run. Captain Calvin M. Cormack, a shy American 'aristocrat', is teamed with Chief Inspector Stilton to find him before the Germans do. Cal finds himself overwhelmed by the English, and by the demands of Stilton's precocious daughter, Kitty. When things go pear-shaped Cal is ditched by MI6 and disowned by his embassy. His last hope is Kitty's last boyfriend, Sgt. Troy of Scotland Yard" -- p. [4] of cover.… (more)

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