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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Victor Meldrew" likes it!, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: The Black Mile (Soho Noir Thrillers, #1) (Kindle Edition)
I was born in 1944, i.e. four years after the year in which the book was set. However, things were not that different from 1940 (with the big exception of the war!) during my childhood, so I looked forward to a story set long ago in an era I could more or less remember. I was not disappointed. The story "felt and smelt" of 1940. However, as I read on, my immersion (increasingly deep) in the story was jarred from time to time by anachronisms (factual and temporal) and Americanisms that had not migrated to England till well after 1940, if at all. As examples of anachronisms, gramophone records were not made of (flexible) vinyl, rather than brittle shellac, till the fifties, police cars had bells rather then sirens, gramophones were never referred to as "gramophone players", and beer came in bottles rather than "beer cans". As examples of Americanisms, drunken crowds were not "sauced", "Ms" was not used as a title for ladies in newspapers till the seventies, police did not "badge" people, coshes were not called "saps", suspects did not (and still do not) "lawyer up" and - horror of all horrors - a policeman wearing "patent leather tasselled loafers" in 1940 (if he could have acquired same) is unthinkable! (I exaggerate a bit there!)

Anyway, as I got further into the book I managed largely to suppress being disturbed by these blemishes and, by the time I had finished, I had formed the conclusion that it was a damned fine novel in spite of the blemishes. Also, I realised that I was maybe even being a bit of a "Victor Meldrew" in thinking of these things as blemishes, especially taking into account the facts that (1) much of the jargon used in the book clearly was from long ago and (2) the author indicates on his author's page that he spent some of his youth in the USA. That is, people much younger than me would probably not appreciate or even care about the errors in question, so I should stop being such a miserable old so and so. Nonetheless, if only to avoid his older readers being able to avail themselves of the opportunity to moan, the author might consider getting his final draft of any future novel set in the same era subjected to a sort of "era editing" by someone of sutably advanced age.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Jul 2013 16:48:21 BDT
M. J. Dawson says:
Hi "Victor" - I have a follow up set in 1945 just about ready to go. Are you volunteering? Free copy awaits. Mark

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2013 17:04:29 BDT
Ivan Cotter says:
Sure Mark. Glad to oblige.
Ivan

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2013 17:07:44 BDT
M. J. Dawson says:
Ivan - my email is inside the book. If you can't find it, reply here and I'll post it. Cheers, Mark
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