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It is over three years since I read Farthing, the first of the Small Change trilogy, which is really too long an interval. Although Ha'Penny works extremely well as a standalone book, I was aware that for the characters the events of Farthing were only a couple of weeks ago, so much fresher for them than for me. But even so, I was riveted by this tale of an assassination plot against Hitler and the British prime minister, in an alternate 1949 eight years after the war ended in a sordid compromise. Walton's two protagonists are the gay policeman from the previous book and an aristocratic actress whose family are closely modelled on the Mitford sisters (with the further development that one of them has actually married Himmler), neither of them completely believing in their own role in the story. While I loved almost all the detail (especially spotting the parallels between the Larkins and the Mitfords), I boggled a bit at an Ulster baronet and landed gent who is also an IRA agent, but I suppose the little-known case of Eric "Chink" Dorman-Smith is not that dissimilar. Anyway, this is very very highly recommended, and I will not leave it so long until I read Half a Crown.

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