Monday, 27 June 2016
Gentlemen Formerly Dressed by Sulari Gentill
When I woke up on Saturday morning with a vague sensation that my cold from two weeks ago was trying to return, I knew that I had to do something drastic.
I needed comfort and I needed warm and cosy.
And I needed it now!
I needed the cosy comfort of a dear friend. Someone I could curl up on the lounge with. And that lucky someone was Rowland Sinclair and his Bohemian pals.
Gentlemen Formerly Dressed is the fifth book in Gentill's Rowland Sinclair mystery series.
GFD picked up where Paving the New Road left off - with Rowly and his friends fleeing 1933 Germany to reach London, battered and bruised but alive to tell their tale.
However, London turns out to be not so safe after all. Fascists have infiltrated London society and a bizarre murder sees Rowland and his friends embroiled in intrigue and danger once again.
It was fascinating to read this particular Rowland Sinclair mystery as I also watched the Brexit referundum and its ensuing political fallout play out this weekend.
GFD highlighted a world of appeasement at all costs, fear of Jewish refugees, American isolationist policies and the rise of fascist groups spouting racist propaganda all in the name of science (eugenics).
It was quite disheartening to read the same rhetoric (just with different names) and with 80 years in between in this weekend's papers.
As per usual, though, it's Gentill's genteel mix of fact and fiction that makes these stories so much fun.
It's wonderful to discover in GFD that Rowly's English cousin is Rear Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, the chief of MI6 who bought Bletchley Park. They also find themselves socialising with Stanley Bruce, H. G. Wells, Evelyn Waugh and a prince of the realm or two.
If you haven't tried one of these delightful stories yet, do yourself a favour and start right now. They're the perfect holiday read - a great blend of historical fiction, gentle crime and humour.
My reviews for the first four books are here:
A Few Right Thinking Men
A Decline in Prophets
Miles Off Course
Paving the New Road