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Bluffing Mr. Churchill Paperback – Jul 31 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (July 31 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802145558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802145550
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 51 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A Classic Jan. 17 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have to disagree. That last review is so misleading. Yes this is "Riptide" but it's a US first edition. I know. I read the small print. Prior to this it' s only been available as an expensive British import and it deserves better than a 2 line dismissal. I've no idea why the title changed, but does that matter?
It's a stunning picture of the England just before The US and the Russians entered the war. London is a city under seige, short of everything from food to shoes. That alone is reason enough to buy the book - there've been lots of historical thrillers on this same subject, but this is the best. Beyond that ... what really hooked me was the characterisation. It would have been so easy to have the American GI paired to the London cop read like a cliche and it's about a hundred times better than that. They leap off the page at you, vivid,real and engaging. A five star read.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
It's equally riveting whether it's called 'Riptide' or 'Bluffing Mr. Churchill' Feb. 13 2011
By the Peripatetic Gardener - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
John Lawton's highly enjoyable Frederick Troy series stands out for several reasons. Troy, the son of a powerful newspaper publisher, doesn't quite fit into the stereotypical English mold. As to be expected, he is literate and articulate, cultured and almost moral, but our Freddie is no James Bond or even Albert Campion. He is merely Freddie, caught between his Russian heritage and the English environment, his education and his own inclinations.

'Bluffing Mr. Churchill' (or `Riptide' in Britain) is set in a wartime London. And Frederick Troy is for most of the novel a minor character. (Lawton, it appears enjoys tweaking the 'rules' of series writing: his Troy novels aren't chronological, Troy we're told at one point resembles James Mason [shudder, so not the alpha hero!], sympathetic characters sometimes fall afoul of the villains, and Troy doesn't always make the best decisions.) And here, the majority of the novel is devoted to other characters.

Briefly, 'Bluffing Mr. Churchill' is the story of Captain Cal Cormack, a bespectacled and seemingly ingenious American soldier and his partner, Chief Inspector Stilton, possibly the most delightful copper the reader will ever encounter. The pair is trying to beat Nazi assassins to Wolfgang Stahl, an American-run German agent who is somewhere in London.

Lawton's 1941 London comes alive. The devastation of the air raids, the pervading grief at the loss of life among both civilians and the military, the disruption of the social order and the undermining of the certainty that life as it has been will continue are carefully juggled with the English ability to find honor and courage and humor in the worst of situations. Lawton's novel is in many ways an entertaining social history rendered with sympathy and humor.

Five Stars. The bottom line: `Bluffing Mr. Churchill' is indeed a well written mystery set in World War II London and should have great appeal for those who enjoy period mysteries, but it is so much more. It is also a striking portrait of London and its people.

Since Lawton's novels sometimes have different titles in Britain and the USA, and since they're not written in a strict chronological order, here are two lists that may help; no promises, but I think I got it right.

Chronological Order (based on Troy's life): A Lily of the Field, Second Violin, Riptide (Bluffing Mr. Churchill), Black Out, Old Flames, Blue Rondo (Flesh Wounds), A Little White Death.

Publishing Order: Black Out, Old Flames, A Little White Death, Bluffing Mr. Churchill, Flesh Wounds, Second Violin, A Lilly of the Field.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Lawton Is Now on My "A" List Oct. 27 2004
By G. Styles - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I began this series out of sequence with "Old Flames", a very clever 1950s spy thriller. This novel picks up Inspector Troy's career at an earlier stage, during WW II, but before the action of "Black Out". Though Troy doesn't get center stage, this is still an excellent story, with its fascinating picture of early 1940s London and the last few months before its two biggest players, the US and USSR, entered the war.

Recommended, in spite of a couple of others here thinking that a prior UK publication is grounds to knock a perfectly good novel.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good on atmosphere, but the characters & plot didn't grab me Jan. 5 2005
By Tahl - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read any of the other Inspector Troy novels; I picked up this one because the jacket's reviews were attractive. I realize now that the review excerpts focused on what I liked about the book (its terrific recreation of a time & place) and were silent on what didn't grab me (the characters & plot).

It's almost worth reading just for the "feel." This is what it must've been like to sit around the kitchen table of a middle-class London policeman in Spring of 1941.

But while the novel is literate and well-written, there's something distancing about it. I found Troy the less interesting and less sharply delineated of the two major characters (Troy and an American soldier, Cal Cormack), and Lawton spends much more time on Cormack. The spy / murder-mystery plot plays out without much momentum; better are the glimpses of the internal politics of the police force and diplomatic services.

I expect I'd like Bluffing Mr. Churchill much more if I already had some investment in the continuing characters. I doubt I'll hunt out the other books in the series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent historical novel June 1 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book was filled with atmosphere, humor, history and interesting characters. It was the first Insp. Troy novel that I read and John Lawton got me hooked from the get go. The characters are fully developed and different from your usual mystery characters. I am ready for much more from this author.

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