Lawton, John - 'A Lily of the Field'
This beautifully crafted book brings together the trauma of Nazi-occupied Austria and post-war Britain. The link between the two is a talented cellist, Meret Voytek, who is arrested and imprisoned in Auschwitz but survives, thanks to her musical ability, and is liberated by the Russians at the end of the war. She eventually makes her way to London, where she joins her former tutor, the renowned pianist Viktor Rosen, who, being Jewish, had had to run for his life before being captured himself. The pair make their living with their music.
Parallel to this painful, angst-ridden story, there is a murder in one of London's Tube stations. A Polish immigrant has been shot with a silver bullet from a very unusual gun. Detective Frederick Troy is called upon to solve the case and is soon having to involve MI5 as he suspects that the dead man was a spy. Tracing the origins of the unknown dead man, Troy finds a link between him and his piano tutor, Victor Rosen. As he digs deeper he is threatened himself by a group of mysterious Russian thugs, who are most interested in learning what Troy knows about the death of the man.
A LILY OF THE FIELD is top-quality spy fiction, full of tension and drama, with a totally unexpected ending. It has your attention right from the very first page and the seamless connection between the two very different stories is extremely well done. This is the seventh Troy novel by John Lawton and gives the new reader an excellent introduction to this rather interesting police detective. I am looking forward to becoming better acquainted with Troy in the years to come. Very highly recommended.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
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