A second set of characters is introduced: Ruth Barlow and Sally Deane, who own and run an interior decorating shop. An unsavory character is blackmailing Sally's younger sister and Sally plans to come to her rescue. She ends up rescuing Oliver when he walks into a bad situation and is hit on the head, resulting in amnesia.
This novel is described as a spy thriller but it is heavy on the adventure and romance, and thus not my usual cup of tea. Yet I was thoroughly engaged in the story. I can't say why exactly, but it really pulled me in and kept me turning the pages. There were some slow parts at the beginning when the author set up the various characters and their background and in the middle when Owen is punting around, but the rest of the story moved at a nice pace. Publisher's Weekly described this book as a "charming entertainment" and I would agree with them.
The characters seemed like stereotypes to me. There was the spunky heroine (Sally), the brave male protagonist (Owen), etc. Most of the characters were described as very good or very bad, with very few shades of gray. Yet I did like the main characters quite a bit. The bad guys were not portrayed with much depth.
Although this book was published in 1945 and the setting is London and surrounding areas right before the beginning of World War II, the writing felt more modern to me. The text did have its share of ethnic slurs, although this fit in with the times, with war threatening.
This book was my choice for the Crimes of the Century meme, hosted by Rich at Past Offences.
Per the Poisoned Pen Press web site:
Victor Bridges (1878-1972) was a prolific author of crime and thriller novels from the years before the First World War to the 1960s. Much of his fiction was set in Essex and East Anglia. His most popular book, Greensea Island, sold over 300,000 copies, but his work has been largely forgotten since his death.Martin Edwards wrote the introduction for this edition, and he provides more information about the author.
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, 2015 (orig. pub. 1945)
Length: 222 pages
Format: Trade paperback
Setting: Late 1930's, UK
Genre: Espionage fiction
Source: I purchased my copy at my local independent bookstore.