by John Lawton
While this book is part war story, part historical fiction and part mystery, it is mostly a portrait of a particular time and place in history.
- BLUFFING MR. CHURCHILL / RIPTIDE (2001). This story takes place in the early days of World War II. The Americans, not yet in the war, have sent Calvin Cormack to London to find an agent from Germany and bring him in for debriefing. He is paired with MI5 officer Walter Stilton. Stilton’s daughter is Frederick’s former girlfriend, Kitty. She becomes involved with Calvin. When her father is killed, Cal joins Troy in investigating a trail of murders and why the agent won’t come in.
- BLACK OUT (1995). This book begins in the final stage of the London Blitz in 1944. Sgt. Troy is assigned to find out who’s murdering German scientists who have been smuggled out of Germany and into Britain. He tracks a suspect to Berlin in 1948, tangling with British and American spy agencies, a Russian spy and a British femme fatale.
- A LILY OF THE FIELD (2010). This novel combines two linked stories: “Audacity” is set in 1934-46 Europe and barely mentions Frederick Troy; “Austerity,” is set in London in 1948 and features an Inspector Troy murder investigation that spills into Cold War espionage.
- OLD FLAMES (1996). Chief Inspector Troy, because he speaks Russian, has been assigned to guard Russian Secretary-General Nikita Krushchev during his 1956 visit to Britain. At the same time, Troy investigates the death of an ex-navy diver during a curiously botched spy mission.
- FRIENDS AND TRAITORS (2017). In 1958, Troy has been promoted to chief superintendent in recognition of his good service during Krushchev’s visit. He is visiting Europe to celebrate his elder brother’s birthday. After a concert in Vienna, he is approached by an old friend he hasn’t seen in years: Guy Burgess, a Soviet spy who tells Frederick he wants to come home. Frederick turns the matter over to MI5. Before their agent can debrief Burgess, he is gunned down yards from the embassy. Frederick finds himself a suspect and must fight to prove his innocence.
- BLUE RONDO / FLESH WOUNDS (2005). This book opens at almost the same time as BLACK OUT and then skips 10 years to pick up the lives of characters who were just children in BLACK OUT. In 1959, two have grown up to be East End gangsters edging into the West End. One has become a policeman working with Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy.
- A LITTLE WHITE DEATH (1998). Based on the historical events of the Profumo affair and the Kim Philby spy scandal of he early 1960s, Troy, now a Commander, discovers that an apparent suicide of a fictional, Stephen Ward-like character was murder. Then a second apparent suicide complicates matters. Most of the historical characters are replaced by fictional ones. As the story unfolds, Lawton paints a background of “swinging London.”
About the Author: John Lawton (1949 – )
John Lawton is known for his historical, crime and spy novels set primarily in Britain during World War II and the Cold War.
Lawton worked in London publishing before becoming a documentary television producer at Channel 4 in the mid-1980s. During the 1990s, he alternated between writing novels and working in television in England.
His 2001 book, known in England as RIPTIDE and in the United States as BLUFFING MR. CHURCHILL, has been bought by Columbia Pictures. The other Frederick Troy novels have also been optioned but so far none has made it to either film or television.
For the past two decades, he has stayed away from the limelight and moved between England, the United States and Italy.
In 2008, he was named in the Daily Telegraph as one of “50 Crime Writers to Read Before You Die.” In 2010, his novel, A LILY OF THE FIELD, was named in the New York Times Review’s “Pick of the Year.”
In addition to the Frederick Troy series, Lawson has written a series featuring Joe Wilderness; several stand alone novels, including SWEET SUNDAY, featuring a New York private eye in 1969; and the nonfiction book, 1963 FIVE HUNDRED DAYS: HISTORY AS MELODRAMA (1992).