A Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott
|A Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Slipping between the dark underbelly of modern France and the turbulence of France under Nazi Occupation, A Treachery of Spies is a superbly plotted thriller with strong lead characters and a transportive sense of time and place.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: August 2018|
|Publisher: Transworld Digital|
|External links: Author's website|
When Inspector Inès Picaut is called to investigate the horrific murder of a strikingly beautiful elderly lady, she's puzzled – whilst the identity of the woman has been erased, it's clear that she has been killed in the same way that traitors to the resistance were executed in World War Two. Solving the mystery will lead Inès deep into the history of this woman – and back to a time when the men and women of 1940s France were engaged in a desperate, brutal fight for survival against their Nazi oppressors. As more and more secrets come to light, Inès discovers that there are many in the present who would rather their past stay buried – and many who would kill to keep secrets safe…
Manda Scott is a novelist, blogger, columnist and broadcaster based in Shropshire. Her works have been many – ranging from a series of crime novels to large amounts of hugely popular historical fiction. A Treachery of Spies seems to me the perfect blend for Scott's skill – as a tightly plotted crime story is intricately threaded around historical fiction that instantly transports the reader to the dark and dangerous world of Occupied France.
What's rather nice is that two remarkably strong women are at the heart of this storyline – both fascinating, and both brought to life by intelligent character study and development throughout the book. That constant development is what makes this book so good – it sits alongside the thrilling/crime elements of the plot well, and never weighs them down. Instead, it helps the reader truly care about these two – ensuring that any dramatic tension (and there is a lot of it!) is sufficiently heightened and allows the stakes to feel somewhat personal for the reader.
That experience in historical fiction clearly goes a long way towards building a setting that feels as vivid as it's factually accurate – the period detail is vivid and swiftly pulls the reader into a dark and turbulent world. The past alternates with the modern-day story well, although as more of a fan of historical fiction than crime, I was perhaps more drawn to the tale told in the 1940s. However, when reading the modern-day side of things, it was rather rewarding to be in the company of Inspector Picaut – a fascinating and cleverly drawn character whom I'd be extremely keen to read more about.
As the tensions rise and the suspense heightens, the reader is thrown into a climax that is as exciting as it is satisfying – closing doors and answering questions but hopefully leaving things just a little open for exploration in the future. A skilful blend of crime and history that delves the reader deep into a mystery featuring compelling and carefully crafted characters – A Treachery of Spies is an original and exciting thriller that's impossible to put down once picked up.
Many thanks to the publishers for the copy, and for further reading I recommend Dark Pines by Will Dean – another crime thriller with a fantastic sense of pace and a truly original lead character.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott at Amazon.com.
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