British Bulldog by Sara Sheridan

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British Bulldog by Sara Sheridan

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Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: As a decade, the fifties doesn't attract much attention from authors and scriptwriters - it's dull and grey in comparison with the vivid horrors of war and the colourful extravagance of the sixties. But World War II left a long shadow, and this, the fourth instalment in this excellent series, takes us deep into past life of ex-intelligence agent Mirabelle Bevan, and the sorrow and the blighted love she has so desperately fought to hide from public gaze soon becomes hopelessly entangled with present deaths and danger.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Polygon
ISBN: 9781846973253

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The adventures of Mirabelle Bevan and her team get better and better. The author, Sara Sheridan, is not afraid to portray a main character who on the surface is intelligent, urbane and controlled, but who privately feels all the uncertainties and self-doubt of a woman who lost her lover before he could keep his promise to divorce his wife. From the first volume in the series, where Jack's death left her certain her emotional life was effectively over, she has discovered that the daily challenges of her twin jobs (debt recovery and a little light sleuthing on the side) are forcing her to become once again the vibrant, passionate woman she used to be.

Daily life in the post-war years is not as prominently described in this book as in the earlier ones: rationing, while still present, is easing and fans of our doughty heroine will already be familiar with the privations regarding little luxuries like new stockings and varied menus. Casual details, like Vesta's habit of using two bars on the electric heater instead of the frugal single bar her two companions require, quickly and subtly set the scene. But even though the war has been over for years, there are still many, many mysteries to uncover – not least the fate of those who risked their lives for their country by crossing enemy lines. Were they killed and dumped in anonymous graves somewhere? Or is it possible that official records conceal more secret and potentially less honourable fates? And with those questions come others: for example, how well can you possibly know someone engaged in the machinations of the Secret Service, no matter how intimately your lives have been entwined? Was anyone truly themselves during the war?

As the book opens Mirabelle discovers she has been left a generous sum of money in the will of Major Bulldog Bradley, a man she ran into a couple of times twelve years before, on condition she agrees to track down one of his war-time associates. The hunt takes her to Paris, still terribly scarred by the Nazi occupation, and as she carries out her investigations she finds she is forced to confront uncomfortable truths about Jack, the man she loved so intensely. She meets his wife, which makes her feel all the misery and frustration of being the other woman, and there is no one she can turn to for comfort: not a single person, not even their closest friends and colleagues, knew of their affair. Once again Mirabelle is in danger and needs to employ all the tactics that stood agents in good stead during the war – skills she didn't actually use much at the time as her role was to write the handbooks and instruction manuals for spies. She is as brave and resourceful as ever and loses nothing of her strength and courage by accepting help from an unexpected quarter when things get really dire. Mirabelle is a fascinating woman who gets more and more intriguing the more we get to know her, and readers will anxiously await the next instalment of her exploits. Unmissable!

As with all the best books, you could easily read this volume without the previous ones in the series. But there's depth and mystery in our heroine Mirabelle that you don't always find in series about private investigators, so you will gain even more from your reading by discovering how she and her team first met. Bookbag especially recommends Brighton Belle and London Calling. And if you've developed a taste for female detectives, you'll enjoy the Rizzoli and Isles series, which you may already know from your TV. We think Keeping The Dead by Tess Gerritsen will definitely be worth your attention.

Sara Sheridan's Mirabelle Bevan books in chronological order

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Buy British Bulldog by Sara Sheridan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy British Bulldog by Sara Sheridan at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy British Bulldog by Sara Sheridan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy British Bulldog by Sara Sheridan at Amazon.com.

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