Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

England, 1936


Hollow Crown

by David Roberts

This is the third book in the Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne murder mystery series; all ten are set in England in the 1930s. The narrative is mostly told from Edward's view point, but his fellow sleuth Verity is an intelligent, adventuresome woman whose insights and boldness often solve the case.

Verity is a card-carrying member of the Communist Party who writes for the Daily Worker and the New Gazette, a more middle of the road paper. In Hollow Crown she has just returned from Spain after the fall of Toledo. After having witnessed horrific acts of savagery on both sides, she has begun to question her idealism even while recognizing the threat of Fascism to all of Europe. In London, she reconnects with Lord Edward to help him recover the king’s letters to his secret mistress, Mrs. Simpson, which were stolen by one of Edward’s friends. She also begins to write a book about what is happening in Spain.

As a female war correspondent, Verity is faced with the jealousy and resentment of her male colleagues. She has freely taken lovers, like other women in the story in spite of societal disapproval of their “loose living.” New female freedoms, however, create tensions between the lord, Edward, and the communist, Verity, adding spice to their growing attachment to each other.

This series beautifully documents Britain’s social and political unrest as it lurches toward World War II. There is the admiration of some, including the king, of the “new Germany” and Hitler. Some have even joined Sir Oswald Mosley and his band of thugs. Verity represents other views. She is involved in political protest at home, including the Cable Street riots and Jarrow March, protesting the poverty and unemployment of the North. The desolate life of the British colonials in Africa also is described.

David Robert’s Newsletter fills in more details about Britain in the 1930s. Find it at: http://www.lordedwardcorinth.co.uk/newsletter.htm



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