Brodrick, William - 'The Day of the Lie'
This is the fourth book by the celebrated author who won the prestigious CWA Gold Dagger for Best Novel for his previous novel A WHISPERED NAME.
At Larkswood Priory in Cambridgeshire in the present day, Father Anselm the Gilbertine monk who also works as a barrister, receives a visit from a very old friend, John Fielding. Fielding and Anselm had been at boarding school together and had been very close. Fielding had become a journalist, a foreign correspondent and Anselm a lawyer. Fielding had gone to Warsaw for the BBC early in 1982 and in the process researching various stories and in particular the Communist Junta putting its troops onto the streets to fight Solidarity. He'd been eventually deported, after being accused of moonlighting for MI6 using his journalistic cover, in other words - a spy. He insisted that he was innocent of this charge.
Father Anselm is called upon to investigate the background to a story that his friend tells him about a woman named Roza Mojeska in Warsaw. The story obliges him to fly to Warsaw and investigate the background dating back to the latter stages of the Second World War and all through the Cold War. This woman was held for many years in a prison and treated very harshly because she was thought to have knowledge of the true identity of the "shoemaker", a person who wrote inflammatory articles against the communist regime in an banned underground newspaper called "Freedom And Independence". Now that communism is finished in Poland Father Anselm is able to view all the various Stasi files and background data available. This leads to a very engrossing well-written story.
Roza is a very troubled lady and the author strips layers and layers away from her back-story which is reflected in many interviews between the various characters which seem almost repetitious but little elements of differing meanings come out the further and further the questioning goes. It gets very difficult during the middle part of the book and I found parts very disappointing and somewhat slow but then twenty pages later it picked up steam and got much better and moved very quickly and held my interest until the final conclusion. This story is very articulate, almost literary in its breadth but it won't appeal to all but I was impressed to read a very unusual story almost plucked from the news headlines of the last half century. It reminded me somewhat of some of the spy stories of Graham Greene and John Le Carre and was very powerful.
Terry Halligan, England