November 1938. Kristallnacht. The Jews leave Vienna - Sigmund Freud with an American escort on a sleeper train, Josef Hummel tied to the underside of a box car.
June 1940. Sergeant Troy is seconded to Special Branch to help round up the 'enemy' aliens, among who are Hummel and his brother Rod. Rod and Hummel are interned on the Isle of Man... Meanwhile a lunatic is killing Rabbis in the East End of London. Troy asks for time off from Special Branch to return to his true calling...Murder.
©2008 John Lawton; (P)2008 Oakhill Publishing Ltd.
"One of the unsung (at least until now) heroes of the genre, as good as LeCarré." (Chicago Tribune)
John Lawton delivers again on his trademark blending of police procedural and political history set in the WWI and post-war period. We've previously net Bill (not Winston) Churchill and Kruschev among others. Winston is back this time with Harol McMillan in tow and others.
I'd read the earlier books and was casting around for my first ever choice of an audio book. this one made the cut, and it's a terrific choice for several reasons. the chapters, in Lawton style, are short and punchy.
There are lots of voices and a wealth of accents, which providing you have the ear for it (my Mother was English and I live in French Canada), the reader does justice to, as the story moves from toff Brits to cockneys and Lanchashiremen, Nazi SS officers, Austrian Jewish tailors, and Italian restaurateurs.
The story unfolds against the backdrop of the closing days of the peace after WWI, the German Anchluss and 'kristallnacht' and vivid descriptions of beatings of Jews by the SA in Vienna.
It takes a while for us to be reintroduced to Troy, our newly made Scotland Yard man, but he's the same, albeit younger Troy of the later (earlier written) stories. ...and some of the same gorgeous women reappear.
A great introduction to how absorbing a good audio book can be. - Antoine Maloney
I can not see how other reviewers can rate this so low. This series is trying to bring you British History like the Flashman Series, but at a much deeper level. The author shows us parts of British society reacting to crisis and change during a tumultuous 30 year period. Not quite a British Yoknapatawpha - the streets Inspector Troy walks are real - but close to it. Audible should carry the whole series!!!
I read(listen) to books for information, entertainment and not to be talked down to from a speaker's podium when an author inserts character diatribes as a means of pushing his own political agenda. Especially when the author makes motive transparent by inserting a gratuitous ad hominam attack on President George W. Bush totally irrelevant to the time of and the plot of the book while preening through his acknowledgements at the end of the book. London during the Blitz and the characters were absorbing. At times, however it seems the author created more characters than he could control. Several chapters would be devoted to a story line and suddenly the author would move to another group of characters. This is common in this type of writing but in the end I was left feeling that the author had forgotten the story of the bypassed characters and made up for it in a concluding summary of what happened to .... Other than these flaws I enjoyed the book because I treated the author's political posturing as just that. His shopworn socialist comments in the supposed utterances of H G Wells and his communist rantings in the words of a Jewish detainee are understood for what the were -not needed to advancement of the story and empty words to be ignored
One would think that a $70.00 book would be readable.This one is not. Plot is tenous, reader adds to the unreadabilty, Germans have heavy English accents.I could not finish half the book.Very.very bad.
I found the plot written to be of interest, but the book was not so. The narrator was indeed heavy and hard to listen to, the script equally so. As I listened, I found my interest wandering after 5 - 10 minutes, unable to concentrate on such a story.
I wish I had not wasted my money on such a book.
"Best listen I have had for ages"
Very good book, full of interesting characters, dark and sombre in places, light and funny in others. A thoughtful, well written and engaging book with a narration that is timed to perfection. Top marks from me.
I have not read any of his earlier books and this is the sixth in the series fortunately in Second Violin, Lawton takes us back to the early days of Troy?s career in a story set against the run up to the start of the Second World War. So not having read any of the others does not put you at a disadvantage. However, almost half of this book goes by without any real involvement from our detective. This is a challenging listen it deals with the brutality of the Nazi regime, it brings you face to face with racism and the horrors that took place while Britain tried to appease Hitler it looks at what it means to be British. It has strong language and violence but it is also enthralling.
A typical crime novel this certainly isn?t, wonderfully written and brilliantly narrated it most certainly is. In my view it?s a triumph.
I found the Second Violin fascinating. True it dealt with the horrors of the Third Reich without pulling any punches but I do not think it does any of us any harm to be reminded of the consequences of racism and bigotry. If you enjoy stories based around the Second World War you will enjoy this audio book!
excellent story, beautifully read, finished it too quickly.
I couldn't stop listening to this story; I found it a fascinating portrayal of Austria and England in 1939-40 when the Germans took over Vienna and then the start of WWII in London.
"Second violin: An Inspector Troy Thriller"
I enjoyed the storyline. The author set up the characters early on and then connected them thoughout the rest of the book. I have since listened to the second book in this series and will probably go on to download a third. I would recommend it as an excellent listen but felt it was expensive in comparison to it's length of playing time. That being said I recognise the fact that the author must be paid for his work.
"A great discovery"
Lawton deserves to be better known, this is much much more than a thriller, more an enthralling history lesson with real and fictional characters. It puts you there on the spot, almost smelling the atmosphere and living in the period, posing lots of questions, particularly about the concept of identity, along the way.
This is actually the 1st Troy novel chronologically, a sort of "prequel" to Blackout (also set during World War II), which I'd read and Old Flames which, fortunately, I haven't yet but certainly will. Pity Audible do not appear to have it.
The narration was absolutely first class and added immeasurably to the experience. I am now buying Blue Rondo precisely because it is also read by Lewis Hancock - thank you for such a superb performance!
"Engaging and Intelligent"
This unusual and thoughtful book deals with the big themes: prejudice, heroism and sense of identity. Via the fictional Troy family the reader is taken through some of the most significant historical events of the twentieth century in a vivid and - at times - rightly horrifying manner. It provides the reader with a shocking insight into the casual racism of the 'thirties and 'forties. The characters are credible and the writing is detailed. It is not a conventional thriller in that the murder being investigated is not the central theme of the book, but nonetheless it does draw the reader in. However, where this fascinating book really does score is as a commentary on the zeitgeist of the period, and for those readers interested in this aspect I would unhesitatingly recommend it.
The narration is first rate too.
found this heavy listening at first but the seconed half was better
"boring historical non thriller"
This book is far removed from a thriller or whodunit - the murder plot is a tiny incidental which is never solved. Instead it is an overlong overdetailed account of historical events leading up to the second world war through the eyes of fantasy individuals. I found the first part which dealt in depth with Nazi anti semitism in Vienna sickening, and I would have chosen a book about the Holocaust not a relaxing who dun it if I wanted that. The rest isn't so disgusting but it's not more interesting. One to miss.
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