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War Damage Paperback – 4 Feb 2010

6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (4 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668692X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846686924
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

[A] first class whodunit...The portrait of Austerity Britain is masterfully done...the most fascinating character in this impressive work is the exhausted capital itself (Julia Handford Sunday Telegraph)

[Wilson] evokes louche, bohemian NW3 with skill and relish (Guardian John O'Connell)

The era of austerity after the Second World War makes an entertaining and convincing backdrop to Elizabeth Wilson's fine second novel, War Damage... A delight to read

(The Times Marcel Berlins)

Review

'A superb historical thriller, as thick with ideas, observations and atmosphere as the London fogs it so eloquently describes.'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kiwifunlad on 26 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is easy to read and a page turner and has interesting insights into life in Post War Britain. However, the plot became too contrived towards the end and it failed to be convincing. The epilogue was gratuitous and overall Wilson's War Damage was a let down after a promising start.
Another aspect which seemed flawed was the interaction between Regine(Reggie) with a number of the other characters. A loose woman she may have been but a number of her encounters seemed unrealistic with a woman who was trying desperately hard to be the 'society woman' of Hampstead. The further the narrative unravelled the flimsier and unrealistic the inter-relationships seemed: Charles Hallam and Arthur Carnforth and Regine and Eugine being obvious examples. Like all thrillers Wilson contrived to keep the reader guessing as to who was the murderer but sadly this meant that the events became more and more unrealistic. Wilson writes well and the book in many parts is enjoyable reading but the plot should not to be analysed too closely.
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Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Wilson blends her professional knowledge of cultural history and feminism with an easy-going but historically-correct narrative in this crime novel set in post-war Austerity Britain, specifically in bohemian Hampstead with the infamous Heath that features centrally in the plot.

Unsurprisingly her cast includes criminals, a photographer and pornographer, blackmailers, a ballet dancer - the once great Evansova (no, she did not learn her steps down the pit), doctors, bohemians, a politician, confused and resurgent Mosleyites and communists, a less-than-innocent schoolboy, a large friendly dog and two policemen.

London in 1949, still in the process of reconstruction after the devastation of the war, is both the backdrop and another character with its fogs, cafes, dereliction and hope. Many of its people are shabby but determined to get on with life, including drinking and smoking, the Hampstead arty-set who gather each Sunday at Regine Milner’s house for gossip, business-talk and food, are unaware of their hostess’s louche background.

Perhaps there are a few too many characters struggling to get our attention especially when we meet them right at the beginning at one such Sunday gathering. After all the guests have left, Regine and her husband, Neville, get down to a spot of family punishment.

Early next morning, she is visited by Detective Chief Inspector Plumer and Detective Sergant Murray, having hardly enough time to ‘smoothe on a mask of foundation, dust powder and rouge over her pale skin, draw green eye shadow along her lids with a finger, scrub the brush across the little palette of mascara to darken her pale lashes, and paint her lips with her favourite dark lipstick, Elizabeth Arden’s Redwood. Lastly, a dab of Chypre on her wrists’.
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By Arturo on 6 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a truly excellent period thriller. Wilson's previous post-war noir (The Twilight Hour) is also excellent and this is, in a vague way, a sequel (i.e. there are some overlapping characters). Both are superb evocations of smoggy, depressed-yet-hopeful, shabby-bohemian and chancer-entrepreneur Austerity London, replete with rich characters and fantastic dialogue. In War Damage a particular strength is to remind us (if we needed it, and I dis) of the enduring appeal of Mosleyite Fascism in Britain even after the war. The plot is a bit ropey, it's true (hence 4* not 5*) but this is writing of a very high order and I think that Wilson is a real talent from whom we will see even better.
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