"A matter of loyalty" - review of a great detective novel set in post war Britain

What a great book! It reminded me of the tv-series "Foyle's war" and this novel is certainly tv-series material. It is 1954 and the Cold War is on. In the rural English countryside, Hugo Hawksworth, is posted at a backwater office of the British Intelligence Services, when a scientist working for an also hushhush nearby facility for atomic research goes missing. As Hugo is close he is put on the case together with an annoying policeman. But did the scientist go to the Russians? There seems not a hint towards communism in his background.

In the meantime we are treated to interesting characters. Hugo is sharing not an apartment but a whole castle (the war destroyed a lot of houses) with his orphaned niece, an American professor who is the new earl and his daughter and the half-sister of that earl who is a secret writer of detective stories (what is told with glee).

The story is entertaining and shows us normal life in the countryside just after the war. Landed gentry vs modern city dwellers, families still suffering the losses from the war, arty types.

The book is a joy to read. The book is part 3 around Hugo and his friends. I will certainly read part 1 and 2 as well. Unfortunately the writer died so we will never know if he will marry her.

This was a review for Netgalley.


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