Published by Doubleday
ebook and Hardback : 22 March 2018
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for including me on the publisher blog tour for Hall of Mirrors. I only wish I had time to read this for the tour as I’ve read one of this series before and thoroughly enjoyed it. However for my turn, I have a guest post to share.
Guest Post by Christopher Fowler
When I was looking for an era in which to set ‘Hall of Mirrors’, I decided it had to be 1969. They say if you can remember the sixties you weren’t there. I wasn’t. By which I mean I was at school, and being a tiresomely studious child I knew absolutely nothing about what was going on in certain select (ie wealthy) parts of Britain’s capital city. The heady smell of patchouli and dope, the sounds of the Kinks and Scott Walker were not for me, I was buried in mildewed history books, some of which had last been taken out in 1873.
I didn’t get taken out until 1973. By which time the swinging sixties had ceased to swing and were left dangling, as Mr Edward Heath, the bachelor yachtsman, took the helm of the country and ran the SS Britannia aground. By the time I joined the human race the wildly idealistic dreams of the sixties were already being abandoned.
Writers absorb the years just prior to their flowering and become fascinated by the years they missed – and I became obsessed with the sixties I didn’t experience. I loved the clean lines of sixties design. Fashion designers, photographers and even hairdressers became known by their names; Hardy Ames, Peter Blake, David Hockney, Ossie Clark, Laura Ashley and Jean Shrimpton existed beside rock stars in the roll call of fame. Art, literature, film, fashion and design gained the confidence to be daring and influential in a way that hasn‘t happened since on such a grand scale.
Away from the cities, though, little changed. As the pre-war world order was dying off, the grand country houses of England became insolvent and their owners were desperate to offload them. They vanished from the landscape at a phenomenal rate; some 1,200 grand houses were torn down. That’s the background to Hall of Mirrors.
Into this world I’ve placed the young and energetic detectives Bryant & May, on an undercover mission to a country house in which everyone has a dubious interest. The trick with a Christie-inspired tale is to avoid the boredom that leaves us stranded on say, a snowbound train while a detective interviews every suspect in clockwork rotation before announcing the killer. The answer, I came to realise, is not to trick out the tale with chases but to make the characters enjoyable to be with and very much of the era, as one would be! This is the 16th outing for my detectives, and the most fun I’ve had yet.
| About the Book |
The year is 1969 and ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall. But one amongst them is harbouring thoughts of murder. . .
The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May – undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen’s evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they’ve got a decent chap on the inside who can help them – the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel ‘Fruity’ Metcalf.
The scene is set for what could be the perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. For the good times are, it seems, coming to an end. The house’s owner – a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat – is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can’t solve the case. It’s when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems…
So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!
| Author Bio |
Christopher Fowler is the author of more than forty novels (fifteen of which feature the detectives Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit) and short story collections. The recipient of many awards, including the coveted CWA ‘Dagger in the Library’, Chris has also written screenplays, video games, graphic novels, audio plays and two critically acclimated memoirs, Paperboy and Film Freak. His most recent book is The Book of Forgotten Authors, drawn from his ‘Invisible Ink’ columns in the Independent on Sunday. Chris divides his time between London’s King Cross and Barcelona.