Out now on Kindle, published by Grove Atlantic and currently free, Lawton’s Unholy Joy: 50 Years On – A Short History of the Profumo Affair. Click on the pic for the UK link and here for the US link. Blurb from Amazon:
‘Named after John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, the Profumo Affair was the biggest British political scandal of 1963. His affair with Christine Keeler, the reputed mistress of an alleged Soviet spy, followed by his lying in the House of Commons when he was questioned about it, forced the resignation of Profumo and damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government. Here, John Lawton explores how the scandal evolved and the effect it had upon the population of an increasingly liberated Britain. This went on to become the basis for a novel. A Little White Death has its roots in the Profumo affair, the correspondences will be apparent to the reader… but the ‘buds and leaves’ are Lawton’s fiction. This edition includes an extract from A Little White Death.’
There will also be a Kindle Single later this year, possibly entitled ‘Agent<>tnegA’. More on that one as I have it.
I previously reported back in February that Lawton’s next novel – Then We Take Berlin – would arrive in December but the publisher now appears to have brought this forward to 3 September. Here’s the blurb from Atlantic’s US site:
‘Joe Wilderness is a World War II orphan, a condition that he thinks excuses him from common morality. He’s a cat burglar, card sharp, and Cockney “wide boy,” and the last thing he wants is to get drafted. But in 1946 he finds himself in the Royal Air Force, facing a stretch in military prison, when along comes Lt. Colonel Burne-Jones to tell him that MI6 has better use for his talents.
Posted to occupied Berlin, interrogating ex-Nazis, and burgling the odd apartment for MI6, Wilderness finds himself with time on his hands—and the devil making work for them. He falls in with Frank, a U.S. army captain; with Eddie, a British artillery man; and with Yuri, a major in Russia’s NKVD. Together, they bring black market scams to a new level. Coffee never tasted so sweet.
Soon Wilderness falls for Nell Breakheart, a German girl who has witnessed the worst that Germany could do and is driven by all the scruples that he lacks. Fifteen years later, in 1963, Wilderness is freelance and down on his luck. Frank is a big shot on Madison Avenue, cooking up one last Berlin scam, for which he needs Wilderness once more. Only now they’re not smuggling coffee, they’re smuggling people. And Nell? Nell is working for West Berlin’s mayor Willy Brandt, planning for the state visit of the most powerful man in the world: Ich bin ein Berliner!’
‘John Lawton is footloose, if not actually lost, and probably a bit bad-tempered. He lurches between darkest Derbyshire (England) and New York in the hope of meeting himself, but of late has found he works best in the cool isolation of northern Italy in a house without mirrors or television. He has written seven Inspector Troy thrillers, two standalone novels, a volume of history (Kennedy, Khrushchev … that sort of thing) and … er … other stuff. He hates Tories, teachers and travel, but is devoted to the work of Franz Schubert and Barbara Gowdy.’