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House of the Hanged Paperback – 7 Jul 2011


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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 (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,996 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

Review

‘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

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 July 2011
Format: Paperback
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 By C. Bones VINE VOICE on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ja McLaughlin on 21 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tom Nash lives in Toulon, France. It is July 1935 and Europe is heading to war, mirroring Tom's feeling that his comfortable life is over. Tom lives a quiet life, surrounded by good friends and neighbours, but it never used to be like that. He spent most of his life working for the Secret Intelligence Services (SIS), working directly for his friend Leonard. who is the father of his beloved god-daughter, Lucy. Haunted by his inability to rescue his pregnant lover, Irina, from Russia in 1919, he is now a successful writer. When he meets Lucy and looks forward to the summer when all his closest friends get together, there already seem to be portents that things will not be as comfortable as usual. First, his loyal dog, Hector, has gone missing. Then, there is an attempt on his life which suggests whoever was behind it, knew the layout of his home. Suddenly, a place which has always felt safe doesn't, and someone he is close to has betrayed him. As the summer goes on much as usual, Tom tries to discover who is behind the attempt on his life.

This book is an excellent read, with a great cast of characters who all begin to be looked at differently by Tom, whose past comes crashing back to haunt him. You have Leonard, his poisonous wife Venetia and her daughter Lucy; Yevgeny and Fanya Martynov, Russian emigre artists and the visiting American, Walter; Tom's old friend Barnaby; Benoit and Chantal who helped Tom when he brought his home; Klaus and Ilse Straub, journalists fleeing Nazi Germany; Tom's girlfriend Helene and his old friends Beatriz and Margot, two elderly ladies who live locally. Everything is there to create an excellent atmospheric thriller - sinister Russians, the spectre of Nazi Germany and the great setting of the French Riviera in the 1930's.
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