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#167 Jo Walton: Farthing

Jo Walton: Farthing

Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (28 Aug 2007)
ISBN-10: 076535280X
ISBN-13: 978-0765352804
Category(ies): Alternate History/Murder Mystery

In a 1949 following a 1941 in which Hess's mission to secure peace with Britain did pay off, a country house party is taking place at Castle Farthing, the country seat of one of the Conservative Party's elite. But a murder takes place, and due to the political weather, daughter Lucy's Jewish husband becomes the main suspect.

This is delightfully done. the PoV alternates between the first person of Lucy Kahn, and the third person of Inspector Carmichael, the Scotland Yard man sent down with his trusty assistant Sergeant Royston (and can I just say that seeing the name of the town in which one lives used for a character is second only in oddness to seeing one's own) to solve the mystery. Much hinges on Jewishness in a Britain that has to co-exist with the Third Reich, and also on homosexuality (which even in our 1949 was not something to be admitted). And in the end, the mystery is solved, but anyone expecting a sweetness and light resolution hasn't been paying attention. This is a world in which Fascism has not been defeated, merely held back for a while. Meanwhile, while it may not be factually historically true, it is fully truthful.

There is a reason why this book kept getting mentioned by panellists at the Worldcon just past. One of the best books I've read this year.
Tags: books, books by friends, reviews
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