Verity and Edward are an engaged couple, with rather different backgrounds and differing political views. Verity is a paid up member of the Communist Party, Edward a Lord and aristocrat. But love conquers all they say and theirs is going to be an interesting marriage if they ever get there.
Edward has previously done some work for the government, the secret service, and he is called upon again when it looks like there is a threat made on the life of Winston Churchill. They believe that it may have something to do with the American Ambassador, a Joseph Kennedy. Can Edward gain any knowledge from the American if he meets him?
Verity, a journalist and rather doubting the ways that the communist party are going, also wants to meet Joseph Kennedy, to get an interview would be a coup. Especially as he is rather aghast that the Briton’s think they will win any sort of fight with the Germans.
When both Edward and Verity get the chance to go to Cliveden, home of the Astor’s and also where Kennedy is staying , they think they may well be able to get to the bottom of everything that is going on….but then a dead body turns up…..and he had previously been to see Verity, but she had dismissed his accusations as nonsense….but perhaps he was right.
And so a murder mystery story with two rather interesting characters with forthright opinions and their own plan in life investigate this murder in 1939, where Hitler is moving fast and forward in his plan and the Italian Fascists, the communists and even the Irish dissenters all play some sort of part. This was a very interesting read and at times I felt I was reading something much more than what could be described by some no doubt as cosy mystery. This was more like a history book made accessible to the masses with some interesting twists and turns and the inevitable red herring or two. If you like murder mystery with more of an actual place and time then I think this series of books is ideal reading.
I picked this up on a whim in a bookshop, thinking I was getting a cosy mystery to be honest. I did and I got a lot more besides, it was fascinating, and I can see that I am going to have to go back and read the first 8 (this is book 9 of a series of 10) and get a bit more background on the characters because I did feel I was missing something. I also liked the historical note at the end of the book, which gave you what happened to the real life characters which were used in this book. It is something which Agatha Christie, never did, use real life people in her novels. It would have been very interesting to see Poirot or Miss Marple interact with Churchill.