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Blue Rondo (Inspector Troy series) Paperback – 4 July 2013
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
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The period atmosphere, illustrated with credible characters, is impeccable and the writing elegantly precise., Daily Telegraph
The 50s atmosphere is acutely reproduced by John Lawton...Classy stuff., Guardian
Few novelists have given me more pleasure in recent years than John Lawton., Washington Post
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I think it is interesting that the books were published (and, presumably, written) out of chronological sequence and wonder if this was done to allow the author to avoid the continuity gaffs which occur in many book series – knowing where or how he wanted key characters to end up, he could subsequently create a back story to match – the only continuity issue I noticed was about Troy’s piano at Goodwin’s Court.
There is a murder whodunit in each book but the series is about much, much more than that: the changes in society and attitudes from the 1930s through to the 1960s; national and international politics, from pre Second World War to the Cold War and Suez; spies and the Security Services; Special Branch; the hypocrisy, vices and double standards of the establishment; the internment of enemy aliens.
There are some superb characters, including Alexei Troy, Uncle Nikolai, Tosca, Stanley Onions, Kitty Stilton, Kolankiewicz and, especially, Troy himself.
Troy is not a sympathetic character; he is a sociopath and immoral, amoral or of a very different morality; he does not have difficulty with indulging in incest, adultery, murder or blackmail; he believes that the end justifies the means, that the law does not apply to him and that lying is always a better option than telling the truth – makes for a fascinating read.
There is actually no real story here until about half way through the book. Instead it focuses on Troy's personal life, which appears to consist of tangled sexual liaisons where everybody in his circle sleeps with everybody else with no apparent regard for feelings, consequences or even decency. One particular liaison was shocking and, to my mind, completely unnecessary to the story.
The police procedural part (when it finally gets going) appears to be inspired by the Kray twins. Troy is the kind of copper who is perfectly happy to disregard the law in favour of doing whatever he thinks is a appropriate, which is one of his less appealing traits.
This is one of the poorer books in the Troy series for me. If I'd picked this up first, I wouldn't have continued with the series. I hope that Mr Lawton sticks with young Troy in the future, not middle-aged Troy
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Lawton somehow managers to involves every female character that Troy has ever been involved with in this story. It's almost a bit too try hard, I mean all the women from the previous books put in an appearance. This aspect of the book involves one truly bizzare episode which I can honestly say I have never come across in a mainstream novel involving the main character and I am still struggling to come up with a reason for it being in the book . I won't put here what this episode involves but I'd be interested to hear from other readers what they thought about it when they came across it.
Anyway, its not a bad read just not as good as the others, its very well written,strong and interesting characters. A good solid police procedural, nothing more.