While waiting for the British Library to sort out when they are really releasing new Crime Classics (it depends where you buy books ….) I found this book lurking in my favourite independent bookshop (Cogito, in Hexham, Northumberland) . There is another one, called The Traitor by Sydney Horler, which I am looking forward to starting.
Trouble on the Thames , being a thriller, wouldn’t naturally attract me, but I found the description very tempting. Owen is a navel officer who dramatically becomes colour blind and therefore unfit for active service in the 1930s. This is a tense time in politics and international business, as potential German spies lurk and perhaps blackmail and threaten the vulnerable into betraying military secrets.
Owen is therefore asked to investigate a shady character in the guise of a fishing weekend, and that iswhere the trouble begins. Into danger steps Sally, whose bravery and commitment to the bewildered hero threatens both her and her business partner.
I cannot really go into much detail as revealing the plot and progress of our hero would rather spoil the book. It does bowl along easily, with death and danger lurking. The background of a pre war London is well evoked, and I would willingly employ Watkins, the butler, cook and generally handy to have around indoors. I thought that the atmosphere was well evoked, and the characters reasonably well developed despite the immediate evident baddies and goodies. I was keen to know what would happen next and it was an easy read which flowed well, even though I am no great thriller fan. It is of its time, with a bit of a tendency to allow the women to be easily captured, but Sally is still a real character. I am still a classic crime fan primarily, but this is an interesting diversion and I would happily read more thrillers of this time. ( Husband, aka Northernvicar, was quite a John Buchan fan at one point. He did wince at some of the writing, though. We found the Buchan museum in Peebles fascinating….). So, British Library Publishing, are there more to come?