Another worthwhile title from Agora Books, this time reproduced from the 1950s. Set in a Fleet Street archive, it provides an engaging insight into a pre-digital publishing and research world, dependent on both visual and oral recall. The focus is on detection, in this case, private detection by married couple Sally and Johnie. The police investigation progresses competently in the background and is accorded due respect by the author and our private sleuths.
We are given enough information about Sally and Johnie to want them to succeed and to empathise with their dilemmas. I didn’t develop the same sense of the other players, who we see largely through the eyes of Sally and Johnie. This was a bit of a limitation - they came and went a bit like minor players in a stage melodrama. Sally and Johnie are also sufficiently Middle Class to employ a nanny who keeps their children safely occupied and invisible for all but an hour or two a day. Sally appears to do all the cooking and there is presumably an invisible cleaner.
The plot was engaging and well-paced. The details of time and place could have been more succinctly presented, but I enjoyed following the logic and fact-checking. The husband-wife partnership is an interesting emerging perspective by the 1950s and, although there are inevitable attitudes of protection displayed, the partnership is more equal than most and the writing stands the test of time.
Thanks to NetGalley for the Review copy. I’ll look out for more in this series.