Fifth Column

by Mike Hollow

Part of the The Blitz Detective Series

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Crime / Mystery eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on Fifth Column

A fascinating and captivating trip into the bomb damaged (and occasionally crime-ridden) streets of London during the Second World War.  ‘Fifth Column’ is the second in ‘The Blitz Detective’ series and while you can jump straight in here, I suggest you start with the first, ‘Direct Hit’. DI Jago and DC Craddock are investigating a murder, several Nazi sympathisers attempt to keep a low profile, could there be more to this crime than meets the eye? The realistic and honest tones, ensure that this isn't a romanticised foray into the past, yet the story is completely engaging. Mike Hollow describes the ravaged streets so vividly it feels as though you're standing next to a blasted pile of debris, covered in white plaster dust. I found myself completely immersed in this tale, the folk and surroundings of West Ham and Canning Town come to life. This series promises to keep delivering and I can't wait for the next instalment. ~ Liz Robinson

Liz Robinson

Fifth Column Synopsis

An attractive young woman is found dead on a bomb site in the early hours of the morning. At first glance, she is just another casualty of the previous night's air raid, but when the post-mortem shows signs of strangling, DI Jago is called on to investigate. The dead woman is smartly dressed but carries no identity card. However, a local engineering company reports a member of staff has failed to appear at work that morning and the body is quickly identified as that of Miss Mary Watkins. DI Jago's initial interviews yield little fruit, no one can think of a reason why Mary would be murdered, but as the investigation continues DI Jago starts to uncover a trail of deception and betrayal.

Fifth Column Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review the first in The Blitz Detective Series, Direct Hit. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Alan Brown - 'An easy book to read because the author takes care with setting the scene and taking the reader back to the time of the Blitz in East London. A good crime plot too.'
  • Anne Rhodes - 'A local big-wig is murdered during an air-raid. In between avoiding bombs D.I. Jago has an intriguing case to solve!'
  • Elisabeth Thomas - 'Perfect for fans of Foyles War or Murder on the Home Front and those who enjoy period murder mysteries. I have already pre-ordered the second book in the series!'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Really enjoyed this largely because it was a murder mystery set as London came under attack by the Germans during the Blitz.  Added a really different dimension.'
  • Susan Wallace - 'A murder mystery set during the Blitz, with good attention to historic detail.  A pleasant and quick read.'
  • Sharon Wood - 'Evocative, enjoyable entertainment in the East End...an intriguing mix of suspense, drama, danger, communism, the blitz and even a possible love interest.'
  • Gill Wilmott - 'Evocative for readers my age and informative for younger ones this book is really set wonderfully in its time.'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'This story was a great learning curve as well as a cracking good crime novel and I would be happy to read more involving Inspector John Jago.'
  • Mrs Tuckett - 'A story of how people coped during the 1940 Blitz sets the scene.'
  • Joan Sidwell - 'I couldn’t put this down, Mike Hollow has a compelling writing style which draws....  I can’t wait for the next book in the series.'   
  • Pearl Wilson - 'an excellent read which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The main reason I loved it was the constant action throughout, with every turn of the page there was no way I could judge what was going to happen next.'
  • Gill Williams - 'An old fashioned style of writing that evokes the feel and suffering of London in the blitz and of a world long disappeared in this modern frenetic world of technology.'
  • Melanie Rose - 'A great first novel...If you like Foyle's War you will definitely enjoy this book.'
  • Kathryn Whitfield - 'Loved it! Fantastic story, a brilliant read.'
  • Peter Baiden - 'With a mix of characters and excellent location settings, Direct Hit gives a clear, precise, but interesting story of the investigation; with the narrative flowing smoothly, with a slightly surprising ending.'
  • Siobhan McDowell - 'This book was a good read at describing the effects of bombing in inner cities!'
  • Edel Waugh - 'The setting and Jago make this a great story, I definitely want to read more in this series!'
  • Neil Williams - 'A slow burner, but ultimately a good story.'

Fifth Column Press Reviews

An atmosphere of intrigue and deception permeates this story. With great skill Mike Hollow digs into the rubble of wartime London and shows us a world of danger and conspiracy. -- Gethin Russel-Jones, author of My Secret Life in Hut Six


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781782641865
Publication date: 18/03/2016
Publisher: Lion Fiction an imprint of Lion Hudson Plc
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781782641865
Publication date: 18th March 2016
Author: Mike Hollow
Publisher: Lion Fiction an imprint of Lion Hudson Plc
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction,
Categories: Crime & mystery,

About Mike Hollow

Mike Hollow was born in 1953 in the Essex County Borough of West Ham and spent his early years in Romford. After studying Russian and French at Cambridge University he worked for the BBC for sixteen years and then the international development agency Tearfund for eleven before going freelance as a writer and editor in 2002. He lives in Hampshire with his wife Margaret and has two grown-up children who live in London. Nowadays he earns his living translating Russian in his cellar and spends the rest of his time writing stories about Detective Inspector John Jago, the Blitz Detective. The first ...

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