Ungentlemanly Warfare: a WW2 spy story

Despite what the title suggests, this is an entirely gentlemanly novel of behind-the-lines, undercover activity in occupied France during WW2. It’s an old-school espionage adventure which cleverly captures the classic vibe of films like The Great Escape. I almost expected Dickie Attenborough and Kenneth Moore to appear as character cameos… …and in fact Howard Linskey,…

The Courier: mainly history, not so thrilling

If you rate a book by its historical context, social insight and technical accomplishment then this Scandinavian story would be a full-on five-star phenomenon. It’s a consummate construction of complex timelines set in WW2 in Norway, the mid-1960s in Sweden, and the 21st century. A cold-blooded killing committed in the past can only be solved…

Alphabet House: worthy but wordy

Let’s start by directly contradicting the marketing blurb. This is not a ‘gripping psychological war thriller’, nor is it ‘a great introduction’ to Jussi Adler-Olsen, better known for his Department Q Scandi crime / Nordic noir series. Alphabet House is a much earlier work, originally published in 1997 and it was Olsen’s first foray into…

In Darkness: Schindler’s List in the Sewers

Based on true events which took place in the Polish city of Luvov in WW2, this gruelling arthouse film revisits the emotional and factual territory familiar from Anne Frank’s diary and Schindler’s List. It seeks out rare fragments of human integrity and benevolence which have been all but extinguished under the Nazi boot in occupied…