London -- fiction

Acts of Revision

By Martyn Bedford

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"'The court will not be persuaded to accept that these were 'legitimate acts of revenge. . .''

"'Acts of revision is what I said.' Gregory Lynn is thirty-five years old. A bachelor, an only child from the age of four-and-a-half. Scarred by childhood trauma, he lives a solitary life, sequestered in his London house, drawing cartoon fantasies to pass the days. But the world has a way of creeping in. Gregory's mother dies. And he discovers, in a dusty box in the attic, the long-forgotten school reports whose words are the unending refrain of a man sentenced to failure at an early age. Must work. Little progress. Disappointing.

"Gregory Lynn reads, and remembers: teachers and subjects, names and places. The history teacher who humiliated him. Lynn, that's a girl's name, isn't it? The geography teacher who threatened to expel him. The gym teacher who called him donkey. And on and on. As methodically as a professor laying out a lesson plan, Gregory Lynn prepares for the cold-blooded acts of revision that will even the score with those who made him the way he is--seven deadly subjects in all.  Acts Of Revision plunges readers into the mind of Gregory Lynn --a place at once terrifying and irresistible, where fantasy and reality, guilt and innocence blur beyond recognition."

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Perlman's Ordeal

By Brooks Hansen

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Dr. Perlman -- classical music lover and scrupulously scientific hypnotist -- is about to leave for the symphony when a hysterical teenage girl is brought into his office. Soon, in a time just before the reign of Freud, a charismatic imposter and the pioneering doctor will fight a heated battle over the teenager's soul.

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Blind Justice

By Bruce Alexander

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First of a series featuring Sir John Fielding, a magistrate who in the 18th century co-founded London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners. The narrator is Jeremy Proctor, a 13-year-old orphan who serves as Fielding's eyes. Fielding is blind. The series opens with the "suicide" of a lord known for his gambling and extra-marital affairs.

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Brick Lane

By Monica Ali

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"This is the deeply moving story of one woman, Nazneen, born in a Bangladeshi village and transported to London at age eighteen to enter into an arranged marriage. What could not be changed must be borne. And since nothing could be changed, everything had to be borne. This principle ruled her life. It was mantra, fettle, and challenge. Nazneen's inauspicious entry into the world, an apparent stillbirth on the hard mud floor of a village hut, imbues in her a sense of fatalism that she carries across continents when she is married off to Chanu, a man old enough to be her father. Nazneen moves to London and, for years, keeps house, cares for her husband, and bears children, just as a girl from the village is supposed to do. But gradually she is transformed by her experience, and begins to question whether fate controls her or whether she has a hand in her own destiny."

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The House of Eliott

By Jean Marsh

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Two genteel sisters in 1920s London, finding that they are suddenly destitute, defy societal norms by seeking work. They build a fashionable dressmaking business against the backdrop of a ritzy, jazzy, high society London.  Also available as a BBC production.

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Memento Mori

By Muriel Spark

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When members of a group of London seniors start getting anonymous phone calls saying, "Remember you must die," they find that things they have done in the past have come back to haunt them.
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The Thirteenth Tale

By Diane Setterfield

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Margaret Lea, a London bookseller's daughter and biographer of obscure writers, is contacted by a world-famous author who wishes to tell her long-hidden life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire to interview the dying writer, walk the ruins of a burned-out mansion, and verify a tale involving abandoned babies, a governess, and a story collection whose thirteenth tale is missing.

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Parlor Games

By Mavis Cheek

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"Celia - housewife, mother, wonderful cook - lives in Bedford Park, London, where the major worries are dailies, private schooling and the misplaced zeal of neighbourhood watch vigilantes. She is celebrating her 40th birthday. The armpit of the English bourgeoisie never felt snugger."
(Known in the U.K. as Parlour Games)

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Canaletto and the Case of the Westminster Bridge

By Janet Laurence

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When famed Italian artist Canaletto ventures to England on a business jaunt, he encounters more difficulties than just the language barrier. Upon arriving, Canaletto is attacked and robbed twice in the same day by a relentless pickpocket. When he is left for dead in a dark alley, the young woman who helped Canaletto earlier rescues the artist again. The visitor to England meets Jane Austen at dinner, helps uncover a spy, and finds that he has a talent for detective work.

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Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith

Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith’s Corduroy Mansions is about Family. The group of tenants in the genteel but slightly shabby house in the Pimlico neighborhood in London cares about each other and finds joy in the simple things in life.

This is an ensemble piece with a simple plot and many eccentric and likable characters.  There is William French, a widower and wine merchant, who cannot get his 24-year-old son to move out.  He “borrows’ Freddy de la Hay, a terrier with human behavior and thoughts, to get the dog-hating Eddie to move out. Instead, William’s ersatz girlfriend moves in. On the floor below live four young women: Dee works in a health food shop; Caroline is studying art history at Sotheby’s; Jenny is MP Oedipus Snark’s assistant; Jo, an Australian, is assistant manager at a local wine bar. Below them lives a quiet accountant in his mid-forties called Basil Wickramsinghe.   The characters touch each other’s lives and have moral dilemmas to solve.