Thank you to Anne Cater for my invitation to take part in the tour and to the author for sending me a copy of the book. The Peacock room was released in September and is the second book featuring the literary sleuth Helen Oddfellow.
A literary obsession. An angry young man with a gun. And one woman trying to foil his deadly plan.
When Helen Oddfellow starts work as a lecturer in English literature, she’s hoping for a quiet life. But trouble knows where to find her. There’s something wrong with her new students. Their unhappiness seems to be linked to their flamboyant former tutor, Professor Petrarch Greenwood, who holds decadent parties in his beautiful Bloomsbury apartment. When Helen is asked to take over his course on the Romantic poet William Blake, life and art start to show uncomfortable parallels. Disturbing poison pen letters lead down dark paths, until Helen is the only person standing between a lone gunman and a massacre.
The Peacock Room is the intriguing follow-up to the acclaimed thriller Unlawful Things, which introduced the literary sleuth Helen Oddfellow. If you enjoy intelligent thrillers with a side-order of mystery, you’ll love the Helen Oddfellow books.
A great blend of modern day thriller and historical mystery. I loved how this book had me engrossed in both the main thriller element of the book and equally, on the story surrounding the artists and writer William Blake.
This is the second book in the Helen Oddfellow series, but can be read as a standalone novel.
Helen is a junior lecturer of English Lit at a university in London. Her topic of expertise is sixteenth century playhouse, so when she is told, by her boss, that she is going to have to cover teaching a group of students on the poet William Blake she is somewhat panicked.
Their normal professor, Petrarch Greenwood, is taking time out to finish his book so Helen turns to her friend and old college Barbara, a Blake enthusiast, to ‘gen up’ on the subject. In doing so, she also quickly becomes involved in a possible new and exciting discovery her friend has made.
But when Helen meets her new students, she soon realises something was very wrong with the way their previous professor ‘taught’ his subject. Along side this we also hear from a character who calls himself Rintrah the Reprobate and runs a very unpleasant blog on the dark web connecting to Blake.
Helen is approached by her journalist friend, Nick, who has discovered the blog and as tension builds, danger soon starts to surround Helen and her students from all directions.
The research put into this novel was excellent and I found the parts on the life and work of William Blake and friends fascinating. I didn’t know much about his life but the way it is presented to the reader, through the story, was extremely interesting. I found myself reaching for my phone to google areas of London or people he was acquainted with, to find out more.
The areas featured in the story are very well described and were easy to bring to my minds eye. The thriller builds at a good pace, bringing the different threads from within the story together, finishing off with a fast paced and exciting last few chapters.
With the mix of thriller and historical mystery it felt a little like a modern day, UK urban Dan Brown plot.
I enjoyed the authors writing style and the main characters from the book were very likeable, will definitely add the previous book in the series, Unlawful Things, to my TBR.
Anna Sayburn Lane is a novelist, short story writer and storyteller, inspired by the history and contemporary life of London. Her first two novels introduce the literary sleuth Helen Oddfellow.
Anna shares Helen’s love of literature – mysteries surrounding the Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe and the Romantic poet William Blake feature in the books. She’s pleased her History and English Literature degree finally came in handy!
Anna has published award-winning short stories in magazines including Mslexia, Scribble and One Eye Grey.
She has recently swapped her home in south London for a flat with a view of the English Channel in Kent.