Books set in London / England

Feb 16th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Lee Ann,

I was thinking the same thing! I believe Persuasion features more areas in England that that other Austen books.

Totally in agreement about Agatha Christie. I know most people love Poirot or Miss Marple, but I fell in love with Tommy and Tuppence(I guess you could call her plucky since I can't think of a better description) - great characters who kind of fall into the detective business since they need work after serving in WWI. I think the very first one that features them is called "The Secret Adversary".

I'm also surprised no one mentioned Elizabeth Gaskell. I actually watched and became a huge fan of the BBC version of her novel, "North & South", and then got around to reading the book. I think it's set in the 1850-1860's in an industrial town in the North of England(the town is based on Manchester). The relationship between the two main characters are eerily similar to Pride and Prejudice, but a big part of the novel focuses on the relationships between the factories owners and their workers. It's a really fantastic novel.
Anna1013 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 08:10 PM
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Did you enjoy reading the Inspector Lynley mysteries? I've heard people say the books were much better than the series, which I haven't been able to see yet.
Anna1013 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 02:09 AM
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Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 02:16 AM
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Let's have another go shall we?

The best author IMHO for catching the reality of real modern london is Martin Amis - try London Fields, the Rachel Papers or Money.

There's a series of detective books by Mark Billingham which have the apparently impossible trick of actually getting the bits about how the police really work right. They revolve around a detective in Kentish Town and again are good on the non tourist bits of London

A slightly wilder suggestion is Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, in which there is an underground fantasy london populated by the people the placenames suggest - ie a blacksmith in hammersmith, an angel in Islington, knights in knightsbridge and so on. It's better than I am making it sound.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 02:39 AM
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I second Neverwhere. It's SciFI but I found it fanscinating how Gaiman wove the station names into his story his take on urban Tube riders. It was also made into a BBC miniseries awhile back.

If were mentioning historical, what about Sherlock Holmes? Racing all over London in hansom cabs during foggy days and nights.
emily71 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 02:54 AM
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Anna - Have you read 'The Light Years' series of books by Gaskell - they are the most brilliant depiction of pre-war and wartime Britain, contrasting the lives of the middle classes and their servants.
RM67 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 03:20 AM
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Anna - I've read all the Lynley books, except one and loved them all. I've also seen all the movies (5 series, if I remember correctly). Read the books first and read them in order to get the full character development. The movies are loosely based on the books and some are based on the characters (much like the Morse series).

I also second the Agatha Raisin series (also read in order). If you're looking for a quirky cozy mystery, this series is at the top of the list. They're short, light, and engaging.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 03:26 AM
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Some other authors/books I don't see mentioned here(fiction):

Joanna Trolloppe (The Choir, The Rector's Wife)
Rosamond Pilcher (The Shell Seekers)
Muriel Spark (The Girls of Slender Means)
Hazel Holt (Mrs. Malory mysteries)
Sally Spencer (Inspector Woodend mysteries, set in the 1960s)
Veronica Stallwood (Kate Ivory mysteries set in Oxford; only the early books are published in the US but the later books can be ordered from Amazon UK)

I think the early Agatha Raisin books are out of print in the US but my local libraries have the entire series.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 07:45 AM
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Saturday by Ian McEwan is set in London and most of his books are set in Britain.

" Notes from an exhihition" by Patrick Gale, an excellent book set in the West Country so are most of his books.

"Engelby" by Sebastian Faulk, the story goes from Oxford, Reading to London.

glinky_slinky is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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penel, I hope you won't mind too much if I highjack your wonderful thread slightly to ask if anyone has suggestions for books set in York? (Other than the much appreciated one above for Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.)
CAPH52 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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The Dress Lodger by Holman

Behind the Scenes at the Museum (York) by Kate Atkinson

The James Herriot books (Yorkshire)

Novels by the Brontes (Yorkshire)

Ian McEwan's novels
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Thanks, Cath!
CAPH52 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 03:25 PM
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For a London setting, try the wonderful "The Uncommon Reader." It's sheer delght.

Fiona Buckley does a good Elizabethan series. A friend gave me the first and I read straight through the rest.

Ellis Peters, author of the beloved Brother Cadfael series, is actually Edith Pargeter. Under that name she wrote a number of historical novels, of which "The Heaven Tree," "The Green Branch," and "The Scarlet Seed" are some of my all-time favorites.
Underhill is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 03:27 PM
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P.S. The Lynley books are definitely a cut above the TV series--it doesn't help that the otherwise fine Nathaniel Parker doesn't look anything like his description in the books.
Underhill is offline  
Aug 14th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Jasmine, welcome to Fodors, I hope you enjoy the site. We generally don't re-vitalise old threads, but start new ones. Please start as many as you like, we will all pile in and discuss etc.

There are various reasons for that, not least that contributers and knowledge has changed, old news is no news as they say.
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 14th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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"Bridget Jones with guns and dead bodies"
Looks interesting
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 14th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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A number of the excellent novels by Joanna Trollope are set in London.
Underhill is offline  
Aug 14th, 2012, 03:39 PM
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These are some of my most recent favorites - meaning having read them within the last number of years:

The Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler - detectives in WWII and now-ish - most if not all set entirely in London

Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding novels set in the 18th century re the beginning of the Bow Street Runners - all set in London

The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd - futuristic set in very near future where recognizable London deals with some environmental and political challenges

Anne Perry series featuring Pitt and Monk - two separate series - a little dark and repetitive sometimes, but then sometimes fresh and intriguing, like the most recent, Dorchester Terrace
pixiedeb is offline  
Aug 15th, 2012, 04:46 AM
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William Boyd: Ordinary Thunderstorms
PatrickLondon is offline  
Aug 15th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Speak for yourself Bilbo;

I find old news to be of tremendous value.
Contributers do change and thus not post on a new thread.

Would you lose all that perspective just because conversation began a few years ago?

I'd rather open a few comprehensive threads than a multitude of new threads on same subject posted over and over.
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