A Lily of the Field: An Inspector Troy Thriller

John Lawton, Author
John Lawton, Atlantic Monthly, $24 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1956-8
Reviewed on: 08/02/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-8021-9625-5
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Open Ebook - 324 pages - 978-1-61185-998-0
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Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-61185-591-3
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-61185-599-9
Hardcover - 12 pages - 978-0-85735-381-8
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Lawton has divided his atypical seventh Inspector Troy thriller (after Second Violin) in two. The first part, "Audacity," spans the years from 1934 to 1946, ranging from Vienna before the Anschluss to the site of the A-bomb test in the New Mexico desert. A straight historical narrative, it includes some powerful scenes, especially those at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, where musical prodigy Méret Voytek has been incarcerated, despite her not being Jewish. Robert Oppenheimer's role in developing America's nuclear weapons program proves relevant to the book's second half. In part two, "Austerity," set in 1948 London, Insp. Frederick Troy looks into the gunshot murder in the Underground of André Skolnik, a painter suspected of being a Soviet sleeper agent. Voytek, who survived Auschwitz, turns out to have a link to Skolnik. Those expecting a conventional crime novel should be prepared for two distinct stories with overlapping characters, only one of which involves a criminal investigation. (Oct.)
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