Thursday, 18 April 2013

House of the Hanged by Mark Mills

Mark Mills’ latest novel poses the question: can a spy ever retire? Tom Nash leads a cushy life on the Riviera, writing travel books and entertaining friends. These include his old boss Leonard and his goddaughter Lucy, now grown up and turning heads. It’s all cocktails on the terrace and tennis parties until one night Tom wakes up to find an intruder breaking into his bedroom intent on killing him.

Could it be that his old life in the British secret services has come back to haunt him? Tom must revisit his days as an agent in Russia, not long after the revolution. His investigation leads him to question those living around him – it seems he has been betrayed by someone he thinks of as a friend. Refusing to go into hiding, Tom knows he is a dead man walking unless he can stop whoever is behind this attempt on his life.

House of the Hanged is a pacy read, packed with excitement from page one. But it is also an evocative description of the South of France between the wars and the idle pleasures of the well-to-do who spent their summers there, while in the background the rumblings of World War II could be heard. The characters and dialogue are nicely put-together and Tom is one of those old-fashioned heroes that make for a great protagonist – a man of action both good-looking and sensitive, yet doomed to disappointment in love. Recommended.

Reviewed by JAM

Check our Catalogue and reserve online
House of the Hanged by Mark Mills, 2011

About the Author

"Born in Geneva, I grew up on a farm on the South Downs in Sussex. I was educated at Lancing College, near Brighton, where the Careers Officer suggested to me in my final year that I become an actuary. An actuary, I have since discovered, has something to do with calculating risk for insurance premiums, which I can only imagine requires a certain degree of numeracy. Given that I then went on to fail my Maths A Level (with a now-defunct 'O' grade), the insurance industry is surely better off without me."

Read more at the author's website -

Mark Mills lives writes in the cold but inspiring Old School House in Oxfordshire

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