Friday, 22 July 2011

The Crimson Rooms by Katherine MacMahon

First of all this is a great story. The plot keeps you guessing until the very end. It opens just after the end of the 1st World War, is set in north London, and visits Middlesex and Buckinghamshire - country areas newly being enjoyed by working people for the cost of a railway ticket. There is quite a bit of bus travel too - in London.

The writer shows what the professional life of a female lawyer/ solicitor must have been like in this narrow-minded profession at the time: dominated by the patronising male lawyers and their archaic
This may not strike you as a promising source of interest but with the other layers of life revealed by the writer it provides a dramatic background.

Strong characters conflict in this period of repressed sexual and social habits. The senseless loss of  life in the war (1914-18) of the young men of a generation and the effect on the lives of those who survived and on the lives of the women left needing to be loved is another element of the background.

Under these layers what emerges is a great detective story, and a great love story, albeit short. That makes three times I have used the word 'great' about it - so draw your own conclusions. ( 9/10)

Blog of Katherine MacMahon (