A Little London Scandal by Miranda Emmerson

Title: A Little London Scandal

Author: Miranda Emerson

Pub Date: 20th August, 2020

My Rating:★★★☆☆

View on Goodreads

I had a bit of trouble getting into this story. It seemed like there are too many, too different characters and I was getting lost in all of this. However once I finally got a hang of it, it all was such an intriguing story spanning multiple generations and social classes. What a view into life in London in sixties!

There are three main characters – Nik a rent boy, Anna, a dresser in a theatre and Merrian, a wife of a politician. Three different characters struggling with their past, each in their own way. Their lives brought together because of seemingly unsubstantiated murder accusations against Nik. There are many more interesting characters from different backgrounds circling around them, but the story goes deep into the lives of those three.

I like how the story was structured, on one hand, it is a mystery into the death of a young boy, whose body was found in the gardens of a private club. On the other hand, it brings to light the unfairness of life, how money gives you better treatment. With power, it looks like you can buy yourself anything you want, and you are the only one who will not suffer the consequences no of your actions.

The book gives us also a glimpse of the gay history of England, how much and how little really changed. It’s less likely to find rent boy on Piccadilly Circus (too many tourists I think, but I don’t really know…), but probably there’s the same chance of powerful man hiding their sexuality and abusing people. The book gave me a wonderful feeling of reading something that seemed so out of time, but so timely at the same time.

A compelling and ingeniously plotted story of class and corruption, sex and the Sixties, for fans of A Very English Scandal and The Trial of Christine Keeler

Nik felt the mistake in his bones.
The man in the snakeskin suit reached down towards him and pulled Nik upright by the collar of his coat. Nik didn’t see what happened next but he felt the wall. He cried out and then someone hit him and he closed his eyes and waited for it to be over.
London. 1967.

Nik Christou has been a rent boy since he was 15. He knows the ins and outs of Piccadilly Circus, how to spot a pretty policeman and to interpret a fleeting glance. One summer night his life is turned upside down, first by violence and then by an accusation of murder.

Anna Treadway, fleeing the ghosts of her past, works as a dresser in Soho’s Galaxy theatre. She has learned never to place too much trust in the long arm of the law and, convinced Nik is innocent she determines to find him an alibi.

Merrian Wallis, devoted wife to an MP with a tarnished reputation, just wants proof that her husband couldn’t have been involved.

But how do you recognise the truth when everyone around you is playing a role – and when any spark of scandal is quickly snuffed out by those with power? 
As Anna searches for clues amongst a cast of MPs, actors, members of gentlemen’s clubs and a hundred different nightly clients, will anyone be willing to come forward and save Nik from his fate?

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