The Traitor Among Us (An Elena Standish Novel, 5)

Written by Anne Perry
Review by Elisabeth Lenckos

Only a fool would think it couldn’t happen here. England’s fate hangs in the balance during the fifth instalment of Anne Perry’s stylish Elena Standish mysteries. A Cotswolds set of aristocrats plays host to the future King Edward VIII and his mistress, Wallis Simpson, while advancing the cause of Oswald Mosley’s Nazism on British soil in the belief it might ward off another war.

When John Repton, a former MI6 agent posing as a tramp, is found murdered on the estate of David Wyndham, Lucas Standish sends his granddaughter Elena to discover the reason for his friend’s violent death. Having spied on fascist Germany, where she witnessed Hitler’s ‘Night of the Long Knives,’ Elena realises she must tread carefully once she arrives at Wyndham Hall, her investigation hampered by the impending marriage of her beloved, if tenacious, sister Margot to one of the prime suspects. However, under the direction of fellow master spy and potential love interest James Allenby, Elena endeavours to identify the culprit and stop the rot of fascism from spreading inside Britain. In the process, the couple uncovers the machinations behind a political smear campaign targeting Robert Hastings, the Member of Parliament for the surrounding constituency and a once-respected, anti-fascist politician.

Assembling a cast of captivating, if sometimes heinous characters, The Traitor Among Us takes 1930s global history to the British countryside, complete with glamorous parties, sumptuous meals, gorgeous clothes, perilous riding expeditions, and other quintessential ‘long weekend’ pastimes. Throughout this latest, and final, episode of the Elena Standish series, one discerns the wonderfully prodigious spirit of Anne Perry who, sadly, died earlier this year. While perhaps not as suspenseful as her other novels, The Traitor Among Us, poised somewhere between Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day and Downton Abbey, presents as highly polished and entertaining.