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A Willing Victim [Hardcover]

Laura Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 17.18 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 April 2012

London, November, 1956.

DI Ted Stratton is tasked with investigating the murder of Jeremy Lloyd, a strange young man with a taste for esoteric religion. Stratton's enquiries lead him to Suffolk, where the mysterious Mr Roth has founded a Foundation for Spiritual Understanding.

Apparently Lloyd had believed himself marked out for great things. But at the Foundation, Stratton meets twelve-year-old Michael who is proclaimed as the next incarnation in a long line of spiritual leaders that stretches back to Christ and Buddha. He is rumoured amongst Roth's disciples to have been immaculately conceived, but the woman who is said to be his mother, and whose photograph was cherished by Lloyd, has disappeared.

When a woman's body is found in woods nearby, Stratton initially assumes he has found 'the mother', but the reality turns out to be far stranger and far more terrifying...



Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849163111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849163118
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 679,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Extraordinary mastery of the atmosphere, dialogue and morality of London's past ... a subtle writer who achieves her grip on the reader by the accumulation of little gems of setting and characterization' The Times.

'An excellent thought-provoking read' Literary Review.

'A Willing Victim is a complex, richly-textured novel, beautifully written' Shots Mag.

'an intelligent, thought provoking crime novel with a particularly poignant ending' The Spectator.

'A top-notch police procedural' Sunday Telegraph.

'this book was so brilliantly written that I kept having to look up from reading to reassure myself I wasn't back there' Promoting Crime.

'Wilson herself really excels in the passages of poetic description' Independent.

'brilliantly written and scrupulously researched. Some historical fiction trades in nostalgia. This does not. Instead it details a period that few of us would willingly return to live in but which we really ought not to ignore' Reviewing the Evidence.

'a skilful and moving tale of faith and madness, elegantly dressed up as a police procedural' Mail on Sunday.

From the Inside Flap

On a dank November day in 1956 DI Ted Stratton is called to a murder scene - a loner has been stabbed in his Soho lodgings. The victim is Jeremy Lloyd, a man with a taste for esoteric religion. Stratton's enquiries lead him to Suffolk, where the mysterious Mr Roth has created a Foundation for Spiritual Understanding in a house famed for being haunted. It seems that Lloyd had believed himself marked out for great things. At the Foundation, Stratton meets Michael, a twelve-year-old boy who has been proclaimed as the next incarnation in a long line of spiritual leaders stretching back to Christ and Buddha. He is rumoured to have been immaculately conceived, but the woman who is said to be his mother, and whose photograph was cherished by Lloyd, has disappeared. When a woman's body is found in woods nearby, Stratton initially assumes he has found her, but the reality turns out to be far stranger and far more terrifying.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not her best - not particularly engaging 30 May 2012
By D. P. Mankin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of this series of Laura Wilson's novels featuring DI Stratton and was looking forward to this latest addition. But I did not find this a particularly engaging story. The first half lacked the customary tension that the three previous novels achieved. By the end I really did wonder if the primary aim had been to write a novel about religious cults rather than to move the Stratton series forward with a grittier and more London based crime. The story around Stratton's personal life, which has been one of the strenghts of the series, was also oddly dull. As ever Laura Wilson captures period wonderfully well but this is not enough to sustain a good story. Overall, disappointing by her normal standards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unaccountably unexciting 20 Feb 2014
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I’ve enjoyed Laura Wilson’s other Stratton books but this one is lacklustre in comparison and feels a bit uninspired. This is odd since in the afterword Wilson talks about how her depiction of the Foundation, what we would call a religious cult today, is based on her real-life experience. Maybe she was worried about too much self-revelation but there’s a lot of vagueness in this story: the characters in the Foundation are not delineated enough to become distinguishable and we’re never told enough to make what sense of what they believe or stand for, especially around the status of Michael.

Added to that, the ongoing story of Stratton, his on-off relationship with Diana, his troubled relationship with his son, and the secret being kept from him by his daughter all feel a bit unconvincing here to the point of being dreary.

So a disappointing book in what is a good series.
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By DT
Format:Paperback
The connection between UFO fears, the Cold War and a strange cult and its supporting foundation, located in Suffolk, is left as background, when it might have improved a mostly weak story in Laura Wilson’s otherwise thoughtful D I Stratton series. Characters tend to the stereotypical: the victim taken in by the edges of religious obsession and deception; the financial backer; and, most of all, the spiritual guru. The rickety structure of the foundation duly collapses under the pressure of Stratton’s good sense, though his personal life creates some distraction – from the plot, as well. I like reading Laura Wilson’s newspaper column on detective fiction and I enjoyed the Stratton books set in London during the Second World War. I’ll now try another post-war Stratton novel, “Capital Crime”.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Laura Wilson 27 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a bit disappointed felt the book was overlong and could have been told in half the pages. I stayed with the story, it will not put me off reading & trying another book by this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I'd been led to expect 17 Jun 2014
By MillieT
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Going from the other reviews, I prepared myself to be disappointed by this 4th Stratton novel. However, I loved the book and found the subject matter both interesting and well woven into the plot. Perhaps it's not a book to be read in a hurry but it's lovely to find a good mystery which is worth savouring.
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