Books set in London / England

Feb 15th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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Books set in London / England

Here is a companion post to the one about movies. What are some good novels that are set in London--or England in general?

A few years ago I posted the same question and got some interesting suggestions. It made me begin reading the Inspector Lynley mysteries.

Recently someone has suggested historical novels by Sharon Kay Penman, which I'm trying to get from my library.

What are some other suggestions?
penel523 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 05:45 PM
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Another police series which I enjoy is by Deborah Crombie with Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James working for the Met. It's set mainly in London, but does branch out.
DCJones is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 06:50 PM
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"London" by Edward Rutherford is a HUGE book, but I was able to slog all the way through it just before I spent three months in London. I found myself thinking about the history of the various parts of London as I walked around. It's not great literature, but it gave me a perspective of London.

GBbabe is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 08:32 PM
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Try "The Bastard's Tale," by Margaret Frazier. It's part of her excellent series about a nun--not all the books are set in London, but this one is. You'll never forget the last two chapters.

Many of Georgette Heyer's Regency books are set in London and are delightful reading.

The Matthew Shardlake historical mysteries by Sansome give a great feel of Tudor London; P. D. James rates "Dissolution" among her top five.

Finally, Christopher Fowler has an excellent series based in London; the first is "Full Dark House.

The Crombie books are some of the best around.
Underhill is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 08:51 PM
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I liked "London" quite a lot. I also think "Pillars of the Earth" is good for background on England. Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island" is and excellent funny book, and I once read a , ebook by Paul Thouroux (sp) about riding the trains all around England especially the little gauge trains that are probably gone now. Though about trains, it was more about the towns on the way and the people in them. It was fascinating.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 08:53 PM
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edit - should read "a book by Paul Thouroux", not "an e book". Have no idea if it is an e book or not.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 11:22 PM
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Peter Ackroyd is an acknowledged 'expert' on London and has written some excellent fiction and non fiction books about the city.
I loved Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, some of which is set in London.
Another superb novel is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
Morgana is online now  
Feb 15th, 2009, 11:43 PM
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A Tale of Two Cities?
sheila is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 01:53 AM
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That's Paul Theroux's The Kingdom by the Sea; A Journey Around the Coast of Great Britain [by train and on foot].

For historical context and an explanation of the momentous social changes since the 1880s David Cannadine's highly entertaining and informative The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy.
farrermog is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 01:54 AM
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Not fiction, but the very best writings about London , including it's history are by H. V.Morton. There are 6 or 7 about London , some on English countryside, and some on Italy. He is an exceptional writer.
avalon is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 01:57 AM
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The above link didn't work, use this instead.

Link to the H V Morton Society
avalon is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 02:27 AM
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For a survey of the London literary landscape, Donna Dailey & John Tomedi's London in the Bloom's Literary Places series.
farrermog is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 03:02 AM
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down and out in London and Paris
bilboburgler is online now  
Feb 16th, 2009, 04:26 AM
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All the detective novels written by Peter Lovesey are great, but especially his Peter Diamond series, set in the city of Bath. Lovesey is a terrific writer.

For non-fiction, I recommend "The Anglo Files" by Sarah Lyall, which I just finished reading. It is a very entertaining look at various aspects of English society and psychology.

JoyceL is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 05:38 AM
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Second the suggestion of Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island.
yk is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 12:06 PM
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I LOVE the Agatha Raisin mysteries by M. C. Beaton (just finished reading the newest one). They are set in the Cotswolds. M. C. Beaton also wrote the Hamish Macbeth mysteries that were made into a television series shown on PBS years ago. They are also good, but are set in the Scottish highlands.

Also love the John Rebus detective novels by Ian Rankin - set in Edinburgh, Scotland.
dorfan2 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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For mysteries I agree Deborah Crombie's are good. Also
Reginald Hill
Robert Barnard
P.D. James
Ruth Rendell
Peter Dickinson

PEnelope Lively's City of the Mind is set in London

Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time
Vttraveler is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 02:42 PM
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A great new one is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is written in the form of correspondence just after WWII, somewhat like Helene Hanff's delightful 84 Charing Cross Road.

Muriel Sparks' A Far Cry from Kensington is excellent. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, who is wonderful, has a mystery series as well as an enormous historical series set in Yorkshire but dealing with all the wars from the War of the Roses forward and not yet up to date.

There are tons of English mysteries, my favorite genre. You can look at the site Stop, You're Killing Me to find series listed by date of publication. I agree re Deborah Crombie. Others I especially like are Peter Robinson, Charles Todd, Kate Charles, Bruce Alexander for 17th century, Anne Perry for Victorian, Patricia Hall's Simon Serrailler series, Will Thomas.

I can go on! And don't forget Agatha Christie.
carolyn is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 04:37 PM
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What? No one has mentioned Jane Bloody Austen? I am shocked - shocked, I tell you!

I'll second Margaret Frazer's Dame Frevisse series, and also suggest Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries, set in and around Shrewsbury Abbey.

P.G. Wodehouse is a must-read as well.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 06:31 PM
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A couple of the Narnia books are partly set in London.

Anything by Ruth Rendell or her alter ego Barbara Vine, the wonderful PD James, Ngaio Marsh. The series by Jasper Fforde - can't think what they're called but they're a takeoff on nursery rhymes.

There's a detective series set in Aberdeen, Scotland that I enjoyed. Stop You're Killing Me lists detective novels by locale if you're interested.
lennyba is offline  

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