As plain-clothes men go, Dangerous Davies looks like a non-starter. The small fry of petty larceny and minor disturbances in the backwaters of north-west London are his daily round. His philosophising Welsh drinking companion Mod, his outsized and unruly dog Kitty, his quarrels with his landlady Mrs Fulljames - none of these bodes well for the efficient solving of crimes and the outwitting of villainy. But Davies is encouraged by his beautiful friend, Jemma, and every so often he stumbles upon something really big.
"Memorable characters, great humor, superb reader."
The war, they said, would be over by Christmas. That was in 1939, and it is now January 1944. An exhausted Britain faces another year of conflict. Meanwhile, small coastal villages in Devon are facing an invasion from an army just as foreign as that of the Germans. The Americans are smart, well-fed and well-equipped, and they have swept the bewildered citizens of South Devon from their homes in deadly earnest rehearsal for D-Day.
One way or another the Communist guerrilla war in Malaya kept a whole British army occupied from 1948 until 1952. They were the virgin soldiers. Idle, homesick, afraid, bored, oversexed, and unsatisfied. A young virgin like Brigg had to grab his fun while and where he could - in the Liberty Club, in Juicy Lucy's flat or up in Phillipa's room - in one frantic attempt at living before he died or got demobbed...
"A Sad Tale of Sexual Frustration, Boredom and Fear"
In a sunlit, secret valley in the green mountains of central Italy, two people meet away from the horrors and clamour of battle. David Hopkins, a young fisherman from West Wales, and Kate Medhurst from a genteel town in the Thames Valley embark upon an idyllic love affair away from the conflict that surrounds them. However, they cannot escape the war forever, and when they are targeted by a single enemy aeroplane their dreams are destroyed.
Bursting with life and bawdy humour, National Serviceman Brigg is now a Regular Army sergeant defending the Empire in the beds and bars of Hong Kong. Peace-time diversions include sensual fireworks with a pair of delicious Chinese twins and a tender, erotic affair with the lonely wife of an American serviceman.
"Great listen to. Nice novel."
With his marriage coming apart at the seams, best-selling novelist Nicholas Boulting flees the country to confront himself in Luxor. But the fantasy escape turns into hell, and Boulting is forced to return hastily to London, where he settles down with the script of his latest novel, Owls of Desperation. Comic and poignant by turns, Leslie Thomas' Running Away is compelling entertainment for armchair escapists.
From the prison cell where Chloe Smith, 43, is awaiting trial for the merciful murder of the only man who ever loved her with honesty, she recalls the men in her life who lied to her. She remembers her adored father, who drank too much; the loss of her virginity at Stonehenge to a schoolboy, her marriage to petty crook Zane Tomkins, the Isle of Wight ferryman who said he was a lonely deep sea sailor, the young priest who said he loved her but left to establish a church for men.
It is mid-winter, 1943. Britain is gripped by intense cold and in the darkest days of the war. There is no escape from the conflict - it has snaked into every part of everyone's lives. RAF officer Paget is heading home for Christmas on a train slowly dragging itself west, laden with the tanks and guns that will be taken across the Channel when the invasion begins. Sergeant Harris sits in a freezing hut on Salisbury Plain, wishing he can stop teaching green troops and see some real action.
Summer 1940. The evacuation of Dunkirk proves that the British can rise to a challenge, even under seemingly insurmountable odds.But now the soldiers, weary and defeated, wander the streets of Dover, conscious that over the channel and above them in the skies, the might of the German war machine comes ever closer. But life must go on and people must take comfort where they find it.
The worst has happened. On the eve of their return to Blighty, Brigg and his fellow National Servicemen find themselves sentenced to another six months in Panglin Barracks. Many of the surviving characters from The Virgin Soldiers live again in these pages: dogged Tasker, the odious Sergeant Wellbeloved, the vulnerable Colonel Bromley Pickering and the comically touching Juicy Lucy.