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by Andrew Taylor
New English Library, May 1999
383 pages
5.99 GBP
ISBN: 0340695986

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In THE SUFFOCATING NIGHT, Andrew Taylor brings us back to Lydmouth, just after the end of WW II, for the 4th time. A group of families, who have been thrown out of their homes in the name of progress, are squatting in an abandoned army camp. However, hostilities have broken out in Korea, and the government wants the families out so they can house troops in the camp.

Jill Francis, reporter for the local paper, goes out to the camp to interview the families and meets a freelance journalist from London. Hours later, the Londoner is murdered, and DI Richard Thornhill investigates.

A young woman disappeared from Lydmouth 3 years earlier, and there is to be a memorial concert in her name. Thornhill is also told to see if he can find out anything about that case as well.

Taylor has invented a marvelous village that never existed in 1950, but one that seems real to me. There is still rationing. There is still an attempt to rebuild after the war. Women wear hats and gloves, and men open doors for them. Everyone in Lydmouth knows everyone else and secrets are hard to keep.

Taylor is a master of atmosphere and plot. The series reads as though it had been written in the period. One isn't jarred into the year 2000 by obvious anachronisms.

The strength of this series is that the relationships keep evolving. It is essential to read these in order, as there are references to earlier occurrences, but the backstory is never fully explained. The earlier books in the series are THE MORTAL SICKENESS, AN AIR THAT KILLS, and THE LOVER OF THE GRAVE. I envy anyone entering this world for the first time

This book does not seem to be available through Amazon US. Try your local independent bookseller or order from Crime in Store (CrimeBks@aol.com) in London.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, June 2000

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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