Operation Goodwood: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery by Sara Sheridan

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Operation Goodwood: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery by Sara Sheridan

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Buy Operation Goodwood: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery by Sara Sheridan at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Another story in the successful nineteen-fifties crime series which puts its likeable heroines through all manner of thrills and danger and yet manages to do so with warmth and even some humour.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: July 2017
Publisher: Constable
ISBN: 9781472122360

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In this, the fifth novel in the Mirabelle Bevan Mystery series, we have reached 1955. There is less emphasis on rationing now: time has moved on from the post-war privations we saw in our first encounter with Mirabelle and her warm, cheery companion Vesta in 1951, a time when tearing a stocking was a disaster of the first order. Various types of prejudice are still rife, however, and Sara Sheridan is a real expert at dropping in that small, lightly sketched detail which tells us we are still in a Britain overshadowed by the aftermath of conflict. A woman who walks alone into a bar will not be served; the British Empire is still front-page news and the colour of a person's skin an almost insurmountable barrier to equality of opportunity.

But among all the bias and injustice there is still one particular prejudice which absolutely must not speak its name, and in 2017, the fiftieth anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, it is both fascinating and heart-breaking to discover what people endured back then – and now if recent events in the armed forces of the United States are anything to go by. It's a serious, even tragic situation, but our open-minded heroine refuses to be daunted, and her trusty team – Vesta, Bill Turpin and the little office dog optimistically named Panther – add cordiality and even some light relief to proceedings.

But what is the particular reason for the murder of an up-and-coming young racing driver, and the fire which very nearly cost Mirabelle her life? Can it be the dying echoes of the Empire? Professional jealousy at the track? Friendships turned sour? Or the demands of family? So many motives, so little time. And of course, patiently (most of the time) waiting in the wings is the maybe/maybe-not love interest Superintendent McGregor. Mirabelle is highly intelligent and her war work in intelligence has provided her with a small network of experts not available to the police to help her in her research – but she's a woman first and foremost, and the sleuthing picks up as soon as she's nipped into Harrods to purchase high-heeled shoes to replace those lost when her flat was destroyed. It's the kind of detail which lifts this crime story well above the average and leads the reader to identify with our heroine.

Mirabelle is an intriguing woman and, despite her best efforts she is still capable of feeling strong passions, so she is well worth closer acquaintance through the earlier novels in the series. Bookbag especially enjoyed Brighton Belle, London Calling and British Bulldog, which between them give a wonderfully vivid account of life just after the war. And if you fancy delving a bit further back in history, there's always the wonderful Albia, the adopted daughter of the Ancient Roman detective Falco – we loved The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis and The Third Nero.

Sara Sheridan's Mirabelle Bevan books in chronological order

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Buy Operation Goodwood: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery by Sara Sheridan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Operation Goodwood: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery 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 Operation Goodwood: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery by Sara Sheridan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Operation Goodwood: a Mirabelle Bevan Mystery by Sara Sheridan at Amazon.com.

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