Actress Iolanthe Green walks out of the theatre one Friday night and then disappears. Anna Treadway, Iolanthe’s dresser at the theatre decides that the police are not doing enough to find her, so she decides to go and look for Iolanthe herself. Her enquiries take her into the world of London’s clubs where she meets Aloysius, an accountant, who agrees to help her in her search. Their investigations take them into the work of back street abortions, racism, homophobia and police brutality. Anna realises that she really didn’t know Iolanthe as well as she thought she did.
This is one of those books that you can’t pigeon-hole into one genre; it is a mixture of mystery, romance and history. The storyline deals with some serious issues that were prevalent in 1960s Britain, and are quite shocking to us today. An example is how the police treat Aloysius; just because he is with with two women they presume he is a pimp and during the arrest smash his face into the top of the police car. The plot also has the undercurrent of the Moors Murders and how shocking this was. The premise of the plot was very good but I felt it was a bit slow paced for me.
The characters all had interesting backgrounds and have come to London to reinvent themselves. However, in the case of Anna, her background was not explained until the end of the book. It was not a crucial reveal the would alter the plot and I think if I had learned more about her I would have engaged more with her character. There was the recurring theme with all the characters of not letting people know the real them, all are living behind a facade.
This book took me longer to read than most books because it didn’t grab me and make me eager to read more and find out what happened next. However, it an nice easy read with a lot of detail of the social history of 1960’s London and a good plot.