NOT ALL TARTS ARE APPLE
During Queen Elizabeth's coronation summer of 1953, Rosie, a seven-year-old waif living above an Old Compton Street café with the owners (a couple she calls Auntie Maggie and Uncle Bert), learns something about her unknown parentage in this captivating first novel. Granger, a native of London's bohemian Soho district, celebrates London low life—a Dickensian rogues' gallery of pimps, prostitutes, con men, thieves and shady lawyers—through the engaging voice of her endearing young heroine. "It's Edward VIII, miss," Rosie tells her teacher, eager to contribute to a class discussion about the new queen's family. "He was having it off with that Simpson woman, my auntie Maggie said so. Terrible it was. She was a divorced woman, miss, and still married to Mr. Simpson." As she talks of her school friends and neighbors, of a train trip, a beach holiday, a visit to a posh house as well as excursions closer to home, Rosie paints an earthy and entertaining picture of England a half-century ago. A high-speed chase, a kidnapping and blackmail provide the action, while the mysterious Perfumed Lady, the tart of the tale, supplies the tension. Readers expecting a conventional crime caper may be disappointed, but anyone who appreciates fine storytelling will eagerly await further word from Rosie in the sequel, The Widow Ginger, due next year. Agent, Jane Conway-Gordon. (Oct. 21)
FYI: Not All Tarts Are Apple won Britain's Harry Bowling Prize for fiction.