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Friday 28 February 2014

‘The Riot’ by Laura Wilson

Published by Quercus,
29 August 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-78206-305-6

The atmosphere of rising menace in 1960s London is palpable. The problems caused by the arrivals of many black immigrants who then live in a crowded area of London are expressed firstly in harsh words but then in actions. The slums in which the new arrivals are forced to live cheek by jowl with some of those who resent them worsen the situation. Added to this explosive mix are other troubled individuals - Jewish escapees from Hitler's mistreatment who carry their own traumas.
Laura Wilson brilliantly conveys this seething hive of activity enabling the reader to appreciate individual characters and responses. Detective Inspector Stratton has just moved to Notting Hill and has to find out very quickly how his new manor works. As he investigates a murder of the rent collector for one of the notorious landlords, ex-Polish refugee Danny Perlman, and meets the vulnerable Irene who is teetering on the edge of going on the game the cauldron spills over into racial violence.
The story is a gripping one and Stratton is an appealing protagonist. There are previous books about him and they are occasionally alluded to but this book stands alone successfully. Laura is a mistress of the psychological crime novel.
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer

Laura Wilson was brought up in London and has degrees in English literature from Somerville College, Oxford, and UCL, London. She lives in Islington, London, where she is currently working on her twelfth novel. She is the crime fiction reviewer for the Guardian newspaper, and teaches on the City University Crime Thriller Novel Creative Writing MA course.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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