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House of the Hanged [Paperback]

Mark Mills
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.24
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Book Description

7 July 2011

From the No. 1 bestseller and author of Richard & Judy pick The Savage Garden: a riveting tale of passion and murder set on the French Riviera in the 1930s for fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Jed Rubenfeld

France, 1935: At the poor man’s end of the Riviera sits Le Rayol, a haven for artists, expatriates and refugees. Here, a world away from the rumblings of a continent heading towards war, Tom Nash has rebuilt his life after a turbulent career in the Secret Intelligence Service.

His past, though, is less willing to leave him behind. When a midnight intruder tries to kill him, Tom knows it is just a matter of time before another assassination attempt is made.

Gathered at Le Rayol for the summer months are all those he holds most dear, including his beloved goddaughter Lucy. Reluctantly, Tom comes to believe that one of them must have betrayed him. If he is to live, Tom must draw his enemy out, but at what cost to himself and the people he loves…?

Frequently Bought Together

House of the Hanged + The Whaleboat House + The Information Officer
Price For All Three: £20.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007276915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007276912
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Mills graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. He has lived in both Italy and France, and has written for the screen. His first novel, 'The Whaleboat House', won the 2004 Crime Writer's Association for Best Novel by a debut author. His second, 'The Savage Garden', was a Richard and Judy Summer Read and No 1 bestseller. He lives in Oxford with his wife and two children.

Product Description


‘Mills has once again delivered an evocatively well-written and researched mystery which ticks all the suspense boxes’ Daily Mail

‘[A] mesmerising new novel … his best work in an already accomplished career’ Barry Forshaw, Independent

‘Mark Mills writes beautifully … very enjoyable’ Literary Review

‘An absorbing thriller and atmospheric plot twister’ Woman & Home

‘A sumptuously stylish mystery’ Easy Living

‘A riveting, creepy tale’ City A.M

'Outstandingly good … beautifully written, cleverly plotted and highly recommended' Literary Review on The Information Officer

'A forgotten corner of World War II rediscovered and expertly revealed to us. Fascinating and shrewdly compelling – Mark Mills does it again' William Boyd on The Information Officer

'A compelling, vividly rendered slow burn of a book which culminates in an electrifying climax' Guardian on The Information Officer

'An intriguing puzzle, elegantly written…a pleasure to read…beautifully captured' Sunday Telegraph on The Savage Garden

About the Author

Mark Mills graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. He has lived in both Italy and France, and has written for the screen. His first novel, The Whaleboat House, won the 2004 Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Novel by a debut author. His second, The Savage Garden, received stunning reviews and was a No. 1 bestseller. His third, The Information Officer, was shortlisted for the 2009 CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award. He lives in Oxford with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
I was lucky enough to get a review copy of House of the Hanged. I hadn't read any other books by Mark Mills at the time, although I have now, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

On the surface, this is a gentle novel, set during a hot Riviera summer, with cocktail parties, dinners, tennis and dips in the sea. But this is the mid 1930s and almost everyone in the novel is in exile. Their host, Tom Nash, is in danger. As the second world war approaches, his past has caught up with him and everything is about to fall apart. But whom among his friends has tried to kill him and will try again?

The story mixes past and present as we learn clues to Tom's past as a British spy in Russia during the Revolution. Gradually we discover how he met his friends and their role in his life of secrets. Having escaped to the Riviera and a writer's life, he is entertained there by a community of British, American, Russian and German refugees. At the centre of the group is the delightful Lucy, possibly the love of Tom's life.

To say anything more would give away too much but the suspense of what might happen to Tom builds throughout the book and it is a page turner. On the surface all is calm and gentle but that is very much on the surface and it is an act.

Mark Mills writes beautifully, and the characters each have a life of their own. Tom and Lucy are particularly likeable. Since I read this, I have read Savage Garden, which I also enjoyed, although not as much as this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a dissappointment 21 Jun 2012
Mills' three previous novels have all been good-quality mystery thrillers set against very distinct periods and locations. He's on the move again with this one, set in the 1930s French Riviera and featuring an intruiging hero: a kind of inter-war James Bond trying to escape his murky espionage past.

The book begins and ends well, its disparate elements satisfactorily coming together, but it flags badly in an extended middle, its central Country House Mystery plot being unable to sustain 400+ pages. To pad it out, the author slows his faltering pace still further with frequent flashbacks, dreams and backstories, some of them of little relevance. He also spends far too much time with his less-than-interesting supporting cast - mostly public school types wining, dining and frolicking in the Med sunshine. Mills is good at evoking the Riviera landscape, though the 1930s period doesn't really come across and the secondary characters, especially goody-two-shoes Lucy, are mostly irritating.

Builds to a good ending which leaves the door open to sequels and is generally readable enough, though not up to the level of his previous books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit clunky, and predictably far fetched... 19 Sep 2011
By Mrs
Ending was absurd, and obvious from very early on.

I read it with my holiday half-brain on, glad I didn't expend too much energy.

Page turner though, so a perfect holiday read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it promises to be 12 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've read other Mark Mills novels and have come to the conclusion that his writing is very patchy. Or perhaps I mean deteriorating. I loved Savage Garden and gave it a glowing review on Amazon but later found that I couldn't finish The Information Officer. His prose style now seems to be serviceable at best and at times almost clumsy. Also he has a tendency to bolt on chunks of back story in a way that is none too elegant.

Which is all a shame because he write good plots and this one has a bit of everything. At heart we have a County House whodunnit except that the intended victim is conducting the investigation into who is trying to kill him from among the assembled selection of family, friends and associates. And sitting behind this is an old style spy story of wicked goings on in Russia some years earlier. The past and the present have come together in a tale of revenge.

On the whole Mills does it pretty well and manages to disguise the truth right until the end, and he throws in a bit of romance as well. But I found the clunkiness of the writing too much of a distraction and I ended up skipping over large chunks of it just to get to the denouement.

Its a pity but to me it seems that the promise of The Savage Garden has now gone and I guess this is my last Mark Mills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars House of the hanged 9 Mar 2012
I have only read the first 80 pages, but I have crinched several times already.

While I like Tom and the story developing I just can not understand why the author makes Lucy into some sort of super woman. Of course she is a perfect yachts woman sailing the boat she has just been given by Tom after a day's train journey.
Then crinch again, she looks at herself in the mirror and oh,double crinch! It's just too much, I am just reading on to see if perhaps, hopefully she is going to be the one who is the enemy within. It would just make me feel a little better. In anticipation of this I will give it three stars, however reluctantly.
I would never choose this book for our bookgroup!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars explain the title plese 16 Nov 2011
By Ruth
I must admit I struggled to get into this book, but kept going and overall enjoyed it.
a couple of things that did not work for me:
1. what was the house of the hanged? I really didn't relate the title to the story
2. the plot was obvious, the twist expected
3. it ended so badly, surely the "child" needed to be found/resolved
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story telling
I don't understand the few negative reviews as I think this book is as good as all of his others. Great characters and a brilliant plot - what else do you want? A real page-turner.
Published 10 months ago by J. Dees
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Mark Mills never fails to deliver. I've read several of his books and love the fact that they are all so well written, yet you do not feel he is writing to a formula.
Published 11 months ago by Anon
3.0 out of 5 stars The fat lady stood up but didn't sing
I can't be alone in being cheesed off with books that have disjointed chapters where the reader has no idea what is going on. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Harsh Critic
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Starts off quite calmly, a group of people are enjoying the hospitality of Tom Nash on the Riviera during a hot summer in the mid 1930s. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Vixx H
5.0 out of 5 stars Unput-downable!
Another cracker from Mills, loved the setting and the characters even though the plot was pretty dire and it was quite predictable, a great holiday read.
Published 15 months ago by P M Haisman
3.0 out of 5 stars Bond with Soul
House of the hanged is likeable yet utterly generic. The hero, Tom Nash, is James Bond with a conscience and there's all the glamour, brutality and drama you might expect. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr Blue Sky
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed the beginning and the last one-fifth
Enjoyed the beginning and the last one-fifth. In between, there seemed far too much time spent on unimportant and basically irrelevant characters. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Ter
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This is an ok read but disappointing in comparison toThe Savage Garden, The Whaleboat House or even The Information Officer, all by the same author. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Anne Laird
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every second of it!
I read this book on holiday and absolutely loved it. Thrilling, entertaining and well written I was gripped from the first to last page.
Published on 4 Sep 2012 by Fosbic
3.0 out of 5 stars Holiday page turner
I really enjoyed The Savage Garden by Mark Mills, and was looking forward to reading this one. This book is OK, but in my opinion not as good as The Savage Garden. Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2012 by Kindle Customer
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