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London Bridges [Paperback]

Jane Stevenson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 May 2001
London Bridges, her first novel, evokes the mood and sheer enjoyability of classic English detective fiction, though it is set in the London of the 1990s. A young lawyer comes across a treasure lost in the Blitz, and is tempted into a series of crimes which end eventually in murder. Meanwhile, a very contemporary cast of characters assembles to confound him. The denouncement of the intricate plot occurs in the Cotswolds, and involves teddy bears, Greek monks, New Age bikers and the source of the Thames, but before we get there, there is humour, satire, social observation, occasional moments of paths, and the scintillating wit and intelligence that distinguished Several Deceptions.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099273756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099273752
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,247,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This a high quality novel, which will satisfy those looking for an intricate plot, believable characters and fine writing. Jane Stevenson ranks among some excellent writers, and I was reminded of the style of Salley Vickers and Sarah Waters as I read this novel, where a sense of place (London in this case) is as much a part of the book as the characterisation.
There is much to satisfy here, for the book is primarily a "mystery" novel, but this mystery brings in archaelogy, religion, Ancient Greek culture, and medicine. The writer must have conducted a considerable amount of research into her topics in order to write so authoritatively about these subjects.
Her characters are well defined and believable and Jane Stevenson makes you feel you would like to know these people, and in some way, when you finish the novel you feel you do.
But most of all, the fine writing shines through this novel. This is literary fiction of the highest order, and will leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction. A book to remember, unlike so many others and now having discovered this author I'm going to read the first two books her new trilogy, Astrea and A Place to Remember.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book very much. It is very well written, well characterised with a confident stylishness that distinguishes it from the run of the mill crime novel. The opening scene involves a young Australian student, Jeanean Malone, studying Greek, and meanwhile working in a pharmacy. Lat one night, just as she is going to lock up the pharmacy, she is asked to dispense a prescription for Mellorex, a preparation for diabetics, issued in Scotland, her doubts are raised and she makes an effort to ensure the recipients are aware that dosages can be dangerous if not adhered to. They don't know that she can speak Greek, and certain remarks make her think they intend someone harm with this medicine. She is still worried as she locks up the shop and comes to the attention of Sebastian Raphael, a Gay man who kindly befriends her and tries offers reassurance to her when she tells him the story of the Mellorex and the ambiguous conversation that passed between them.

In a second plot-line Edward Lupset, a University Lecturer and somewhat unpleasant individual becomes aware of the fortunes of Mr Eugenides, frail and elderly owner of a valuable library and possessor of exquisite artefacts of great value - deposited in banks vaults, How these plot lines intersect is what this book is about.

The journey is eventful and sympathetic, with Sebastian and his coterie of friends and acquaintances befriending Jeanean and as the plot thickens, solving one murder and preventing another. It is intelligent, sharp and amusing, and very entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curious mixture... 20 May 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This was a book that I couldn't put down.
Why? Not because I was desperate to discover the solution to a mystery - I zipped through it at top-speed trying to *find* a mystery. There is a murder in the book, and although many of the characters are in the dark much of the time, the omniscient third-person narrator is always keen to tell the reader exactly what is going on.
A bit too keen, in fact. The novel can't seem to decide whether it's a detective story, a grown-up thriller, a Famous Five book or a lifestyle novel. Because of this much of the main story - which is quite intriguing - is submerged in gushing, superfluous detail. Although Stevenson's characters are engaging, I'm not dying to know every last detail of their clothes, or from which furnishings store they bought their pine flooring. Neither do I need to be told in precise detail what is going on inside their heads. A particularly grim example:
"...But in his dreams and fantasies, the moments when his conscious control of his mind slackened, his feelings for her had gradually developed an emotional and sexual charge which he was not prepared to acknowledge even to himself....In his pain and anger, he was unwilling to believe that a young attractive girl could possess such a thing as a mind of her own."
Such psychologising is both pointlessly wordy ("pain and anger","such a thing") and ineffective. This is the age of James Ellroy, not George Eliot; we like to be shown, not told.
Adventure aside, what is London Bridges about? That's the real mystery. It's marketed by a literary publisher, and aimed at a discerning audience. It even claims descent from the work of Margery Allingham, the most literary of Golden Age crime writers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable murder-mystery 4 Jan 2003
By C. Pope VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This novel works both as a well-plotted murder-mystery tale, and also as an introduction to some of the more murky and interesting areas of London. Despite the fact that the majority of the characters are one-dimensional and are never fully developed, the majority of them are engaging and I found myself wanting to know more about them.
It is immensely enjoyable and compulsive, although let down by a rather contrived Wacky Races-style ending.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Muddled and cliche-ridden 31 July 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book does have its moments, but they are few and far between. The author does have an excellent, lucid prose style and a good eye for telling details. However, the characters are cardboard cutouts (she obviously hates Tories, Etonians, etc.) and the plot is weak and contrived (far too many coincidences). At the end the book just trails off into a most unsatisfactory ending...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Erudite - and great fun....
The story focuses on an overlapping series of characters: a lawyer, an Australian student, a university lecturer, a woman working on Millennium projects for the City of London. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Wynne Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars Full, and fulfilling
London Bridges (re-issued by Vintage) is a galumphing great book that does occasionally feel in need of a bit of reining it, but it's no less enjoyable for all that. Read more
Published on 2 April 2012 by Ian Payn
3.0 out of 5 stars comedy of manners
Although described as a mystery or a thriller, this is mainly a comedy of manners. It involves the intersections of three groups of people in London, some involved with historical... Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2009 by maryleopard
3.0 out of 5 stars A ripping good yarn
This book wasn't quite as good as I thought it was going to be, but reading it was a lot of fun. Armistead Mapuin meets David Lodge meets Dan Brown? Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2008 by Sugarhill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun -- Perfect For a Rainy Weekend
This extremely well-written and entertaining book is a quasi-thriller constructed around an exploration of how people meet and forge their own communities. Read more
Published on 8 Mar 2005 by A. Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling murder story of today's London
This is the most fun I have had reading a crime novel set in London since I discovered Mike Ripley's 'Angel' series. Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of promise but poor writing lets it down
I purchased this book after seeing some rave reviews and naturally had high hopes. I am not sure they were about the same book. Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars a curious mixture
This was a book that I couldn't put down.
Why? Not because I was desperate to discover the solution to a mystery - I zipped through it at top-speed trying to *find* a mystery. Read more
Published on 10 Aug 2001 by bill@bookbloke.co.uk
4.0 out of 5 stars Visit London with this book
The plot takes the reader around different places in London and it is a joy to recognize the landscape of the story. Read more
Published on 23 July 2001 by Marina Heck
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A most entertaining and satisfying book. Imaginatively plotted, well-observed characters and a satisfying denouement.
Published on 20 Jun 2001
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