One of my Christmas books was Corpus by Rory Clements and I settled down to enjoy it in mid-March. It is set in 1936 in the run up to the Second World War in Cambridge, where a young woman is found dead with her syringe next to her by her friend Lydia, who suspects foul play. Lydia’s calls on her neighbour Professor Thomas Wilde, an American who prefers living outside his college, to help. Her suspicions centre around a trip her friend made to Berlin a few months earlier, where she disappeared for an hour, and was not the same afterwards.
Lydia runs a small left-wing press and the Russians are in town, rallying supporters for the Spanish civil war and coming up against Mosley’s blackshirts. The local aristocracy is also up to something, and is supportive of Hitler‘s regime. The King is also teetering on the edge of abdication and then the killings start. Throats are being slit in the country houses of Cambridgeshire and undergraduates in fancy dress are being shot in alleyways and all of it seems somehow linked to Lydia and her friends. Is it as straightforward as Russians killing rich British Nazis or is there more to it? And why is someone trying to land a hoard of gold coins up the East Anglian coast?
Professor Wilde is determined to find out, in the course of a breathless and action-packed week in December. A gripping and fun read that leaves you wanting more. Luckily, it’s the first in a series.