Mar 26, 2014

Book Review: The Riot by Laura Wilson

The Riot
Title: The Riot (Detectie Inspector Ted Stratton #5) byLaura Wilson
Published Augus 1, 2013; Quercus
Genre: police procedural

About the book: The Riot is set in the 1950s in a run down area of London inhabited primarily by Caribbean immigrants who live in relative poverty there. There is a murder of an English man who lived in a building there, a man who collected rent from tenants in several apartment buildings owned by a wealthy but unscrupulous property owner. This owner goes to many lengths to see that his tenants pay up, even sending thugs with dogs to the apartments.

My comments: Not knowing the area of London, it was difficult to sustain interest in this crime novel. It was also written in a factual, journalistic style without the usual elements to keep the reader's interest - notably strong characterizations, even subplots. The journalistic style was dry. To be fair, I believe those familiar with London and its ethnic groups and problems - Teddy boys, immigrants who do not fit in well, etc. and the racial tensions that ensue - will get much more from the novel.

The writer, Laura Wilson, has won an award for a previous book in this crime series.

Book description: August 1958. London is hot and tired, and nowhere more so than Notting Hill, where DI Stratton has just been posted. 

Stratton’s new manor is dirt poor and rife with racial tension. The end of the war saw a flood of Caribbean migrants. Now, a decade later, working-class Teddy Boys are showing mounting hostility towards their black neighbours. 

Notorious landlord Danny Perlmann, a Polish refugee, is taking full advantage of others’ reluctance to rent to the immigrants – or to prostitutes – and is making a fortune off the high rents he charges. Caught in the middle of this war over rents and turf is Irene, a young runaway on the verge of going on the game. 

When Perlmann’s rent collector is murdered, Stratton is called to investigate. Notting Hill is a cauldron, soon to be the scene of the worst racial violence England has ever known, and Stratton is right at the heart of it.

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book.


  1. The fact that it's written in a journalistic style makes me think I would pass on it. The story line does sound good though.

  2. Thanks for your candid review.

  3. Ditto to Pat's comment. It sounds as if this was not engaging you much.


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