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Stratton's War [Paperback]

Laura Wilson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

14 May 2009

London, June 1940. When the body of silent screen star Mabel Morgan is found impaled on railings in Fitzrovia, the coroner rules her death as suicide, but DI Ted Stratton of the CID is not convinced. Despite opposition from his superiors, he starts asking questions, and it becomes clear that Morgan's fatal fall from a high window may have been the work of one of Soho's most notorious gangsters.

MI5 agent Diana Calthrop, working with senior official Sir Neville Apse, is leading a covert operation when she discovers that her boss is involved in espionage. She must tread carefully - Apse is a powerful man, and she can't risk threatening the reputation of the Secret Service.

Only when Stratton's path crosses Diana's do they start to uncover the truth. But as they discover Morgan's connection with Apse and their mutual links to a criminal network and a secretive pro-fascist organisation, they begin to realise that the intrigues of the Secret Service are alarmingly similar to the machinations of war-torn London's underworld.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752884581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752884585
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Stratton's War should certainly swell the ranks of Laura Wilson aficianados (CRIME TIME)

Totally deserving of the 2008 Crime Writers Association / Ellis Peters Historical Award, it's well researched, well written and brilliantly plotted. (SAINSBURYS MAGAZINE)

Wilson has established a reputation for stylish psychological crime; the first in her series featuring decent copper Stratton is enriched with warmth and humour as well. (GUARDIAN)

A breathtakingly good novel that weaves credible fiction onto fact, brilliantly evoking wartime London.' (HUDDERSFIELD DAILY EXAMINER)

Book Description

The start of a brilliant new series of crime novels featuring DI Ted Stratton of the CID, set in central London during World War Two and its aftermath.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spies In The Blackout 31 July 2009
This is a lengthy, intricate and necessarily leisurely read. It is also a very absorbing one. Wartime London amidst the bombs and blackout makes a bleak but graphic canvas for murder, nascent Fascism and subversive intrigue. The two protagonists, Stratton and Diana - robust policeman and refined Secret Service recruit (loosely based on real life agent Joan Miller) - are believable and sympathetically drawn, and their widely differing milieux realistically portrayed. Indeed, one of the strengths of the novel is the way that Laura Wilson collates and blends the various professional fields, domestic contexts and social strata. The suave and seamy, the urbane and humdrum, crisp ruthlessness and crude thuggery are deftly manipulated to produce a thriller of compelling realism. The pace may be leisurely but the prose is delivered with clarity, style and punchy humour; and the auxiliary characters - such as M I 5 chief Forbes-James, or Diana's distasteful husband - are sharply defined. Blackmail, espionage, illicit sex, unexplained deaths - yes, these are the classic ingredients of crime fiction; but set against and woven into the heightened ethos of the London Blitz, they take on an additional frisson. Set in a world of complex ambiguity, the novel's ending is appropriately oblique and prepares the reader for fresh developments.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mystery set in war-torn London 13 Jan 2009
DI Ted Stratton is a policeman working in central London in 1940. He is married to Jenny and their two children have been sent out of London. for safety. His home life is happy apart from the constant entreaties from his wife, which he is beginning to dread, to bring back the children from the country as she misses them. His extended family leave something to be desired, but we all have the same problems in this area.

He is called to investigate the death of silent screen star Mable Morgan who has been found dead impaled on railing outside her flat. The verdict is suicide, but Ted is not so sure, and against his superiors advice he starts asking questions.

On the other side of the tracks we meet Diana Calthrop, a tall elegant blonde who is recruited into MI5 working with senior official Sir Neviile Apse. Diana meets handsome Claude Ventriss and against her better judgement and her colleagues advice, is attracted by Claude. Diana is on sticky ground all round, she is married to Guy, who is serving abroad, but unlike Ted Stratton her marriage is not happy, and with her home life scrutinised by her mother-in-law, and a job that is by its very nature secretive, she really has no one she can trust.

As Ted delves further into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mable Morgan he finds links to the criminal underworld that in turn lead him to Diana's secret world, and thus their paths cross.

A brilliant story following two different walks of life set across the backdrop of war-torn London.
Lizzie Hayes
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stratton's War 13 July 2009
A very complex plot and suitably confusing for a novel involving the secret service. Nice ambiguous ending as well.
The story starts with a simple, apparently, death and becomes more and more of a tangled web as the investigation by the one police officer who did not accept the coroner's suicide verdict continues. At the same time the british intelligence service is infiltrating the Hitler appeasing group of the establishment. Eventually the two strands of investigation become entwined.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stratton's War 16 Mar 2008
A superb, atmospheric novel of the hardships and day to day lives of londoners in 1940. Better in my opinion than John Lawton's 'Blackout' I hope this will be the beginning of a series involving Stratton, a hardworking copper trying to do his job in impossible conditions. Complicated by the involvement of MI5 and the cloak and dagger brigade, just gives a hint of the problems encountered trying to maintain this countries internal security.
Well worth a read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tells a good story very well 13 Aug 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sometimes it's good to read something that is just a great piece of entertaining story-telling: no postmodern posturings, no elaborate subtexts, no deep allegories or meanings - and this fits the bill perfectly. Set in 1940 during the London Blitz, it combines a police procedural with the murky doings of MI5 as pro-Fascist groups try to keep America out of the war.

Against this background, DI Ted Stratton (mercifully free of depression, a tragic backstory and/or alcoholism, with a fully-functioning marriage and a wandering eye for a girl's legs) is investigating a suspicious suicide and a murder. Alongside this is a second plot involving Diana Calthorp, a well brought up upper-class `gel' who finds excitement in war work - and an illicit affair. Of course, the two strands don't stay separate for long...

This is an absorbing read though not without its flaws: the plot is complex but does rely on that crime-writer's perennial favourite: The Outrageous Coincidence (in this case, more than one). The pacing gets protracted, too, towards the end with the domestic doings of Ted's extended family taking up too much space, and with the loose ends of the plot taking far too long to get tied up.

But despite these niggles this is a book which it's very easy to sink in to. In some ways it has old-fashioned values (in a good way): it's well-written, well-researched, has a good plot and characters - it's not `saying' something, but tells a good story very well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
the book is great
Published 3 days ago by sarah j
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good holiday reading. To be recommended
Published 11 days ago by Angela Dunford
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm!
Really enjoyed it all the way through but the ending really disappointed me, I turned the page thinking there was more and there wasn't! Hate it when that happens!
Published 2 months ago by Cheekyboots
3.0 out of 5 stars Who's War?
As an aficionado of crime fiction, I thought that this work was ok. However, as a student of history and social science, I thought that it was very good. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bronstein
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I enjoyed this story the first in the series about inspector Stretton. I loved the war time setting and felt the author did well with making the reader feel as though they were... Read more
Published 18 months ago by catlover
3.0 out of 5 stars Stratton War
I found this to be a easy on the eye read, very good, historical very good, learnt quite a bot as well. I will hopefully enjoy Laura`s next book.
Published 18 months ago by phillip beeching
4.0 out of 5 stars who to trust? that is the question within this excellent book...
Stratton's War by Laura Wilson was for me an excellent read which at the end I was totally addicted to the very edgy Detective Inspector Stratton along with the very... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Petra "I love to read"
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but has weaknesses
Stratton's War is part of the burgeoning number of crime novels using the Second World War as its backdrop. Read more
Published on 12 May 2012 by Rob Kitchin
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull as dishwater
A promising start failed to develop into anything interesting. Threw the towel in after eight hours reading and decided life was too short. Who dunnit.... Who cares!
Published on 7 Feb 2012 by J. Malone
5.0 out of 5 stars Stratton - a character to follow
I love Laura Wilson's writing and this book is up there with her best. I've come to it late so have the luxury of being able to read more about Ted Stratton at once as I move on... Read more
Published on 8 Mar 2011 by L. Mumbray-Williams
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