Summary and book reviews of The Innocent Spy by Laura Wilson

The Innocent Spy

A Mystery

By Laura Wilson

The Innocent Spy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jul 2009,
    464 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

London, June 1940. When the body of silent screen star Mabel Morgan is found impaled on a wrought-iron fence, the coroner rules her death as suicide. Detective Ted Stratton is not convinced and suspects that Morgan’s fatal fall may have been the work of one of Soho’s most notorious gangsters.

Meanwhile, MI5 agent Diana Calthrop is leading a covert operation when she discovers that her boss is involved in espionage. Only when Stratton’s path crosses Diana’s does the pair start to uncover the truth. And soon they also begin to realize they like each other a little too much...

ONE

A child saw her first.

June 1940, Fitzrovia: five o’clock, and the sky overcast. The boy, six years old, had been running half-heartedly up and down the empty street, pretending to be an aeroplane, but it wasn’t much good without the others. He’d been delighted when his mother came to take him away from the farm, with its pig-faced owner and the huge smelly animals that still chased him, snorting and steaming, through nightmares. His mother, smothering for the first few days, had soon tired of him under her feet and turned him outdoors to play, and three months on, with most of his friends still evacuated and his old school requisitioned by the ARP, he was bored.

He picked up a stick and ran it up and down the iron railings in front of the tall houses, then turned the corner and, sighing, sat down on the kerb and pulled both his socks up, hard.

Raising his head, he saw a sack of something draped over a set of railings further down. It hadn’t ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse

If you like a book you can sink your teeth into, a bevy of colorful characters, and an accurate and evocative historical setting - and a bizarre local murder mystery solved amid WII espionage - I highly recommend The Innocent Spy.   (Reviewed by Vy Armour).

Full Review Members Only (863 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This outstanding first in a series set during WWII won Wilson (A Little Death) the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Fans of Blitz-era mysteries will reserve this one.

Kirkus Reviews

Wilson (Telling Lies to Alice, 2004, etc.) kicks off this new series with memorable portraits of witheringly evasive Forbes-James, based in part on Charles Knight, the real spymaster behind Ian Fleming's M....

The Spectator (UK)

The novel isn't subtle but it exudes the sort of high-grade glossy competence that characterises a good Agatha Christie story or an episode of The Sopranos. And that’s a considerable compliment.

The Guardian (UK)

Wilson has established a reputation for stylish psychological crime; the first in her series featuring decent copper Stratton is enriched with warmth and humour as well.

The Telegraph (UK)

[This is] is Laura Wilson's most ambitious book, a story of treason, blackmail and murder set in London in 1940. The city's wartime atmosphere is impeccably created and there are two brilliantly drawn characters.

Reader Reviews
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Real-life Spies
The character of Colonel Forbes-James is based in part on the spymaster Charles Maxwell Knight (1900-1968). After rising through the ranks of the British Fascisti organization, Knight was recruited by M15 in the mid-1920's, and later headed up B5b, the division responsible for monitoring political subversion. As M15's chief agent runner, Knight did not agree with the prejudice against the employment of women as agents - in fact, he endorsed their particular aptitude as agents provocateurs - and consequently many of his best agents were women.

One of Knight's most important agents was Joan Miller (1918-1984), portrayed by Diana in The Innocent Spy. Miller's main assignment was to spy on the Right Club, a secret ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Innocent Spy, try these:

  • A Quiet Flame jacket

    A Quiet Flame

    by Philip Kerr

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Philip Kerr returns with his best-loved character, Bernie Gunther, in the fifth novel in what is now a series: a tight, twisting, compelling thriller that is firmly rooted in history.

  • Shadow and Light jacket

    Shadow and Light

    by Jonathan Rabb

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Berlin, between the two world wars. When an executive at the renowned Ufa film studios is found dead floating in his office bathtub, it falls to Nikolai Hoffner, a chief inspector in the Kriminalpolizei, to investigate.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  171The City:
    Dean Koontz
  2.  119Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.