London Belongs to Me
It is Christmas 1938 with the prospect of war ever present, but daily life must go on. The setting is a lodging house, number 10 Dulcimer Street, occupied by a variety of characters under the supervision of the widowed Mrs Vizzard. Here is Mr Josser, returning with the clock he has received as a retirement present; Connie, a faded actress desperate for work, any type of work; Mr Puddy, making his weekly shopping list including tinned salmon, peaches, and tongue; and Percy Boon, a mechanic dealing in stolen cars and worse. They are all the sort of people that may populate any major city: the neighbours that cause net curtains to twitch, leading quite ordinary lives that are of enduring fascination to others, as actors in a soap opera. However, the mundane aspect changes when a murder and subsequent trial quickens the pace.
This is a character-driven story of séances, shabby gentility, and smoke-filled pubs. First published in 1945 and made into a successful film of the same name in 1948 starring Richard Attenborough in the role of Percy Boon, this latest edition is a welcome reminder of a novel where much happens, too much to summarise without spoiling the effect of the whole. A reminder of a bygone age, a great city, world-changing events, and the people who lived through it all.