desmond elliott 2017 make the most of Lovereading eleanor oliphant the plague charmer lovereading canvas bags
Vouchers


Reader Reviewed
An Unlikely Agent by Jane Menczer
  

An Unlikely Agent

Historical Fiction   Debuts of the Month   Literary Fiction   Romantic Fiction   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Add to wishlist Share this book

Lovereading view...

May 2017 Debut of the Month.

An enthralling Edwardian espionage thriller featuring an endearing, independent female lead and lashings of intrigue.

London, 1905, and Margaret Trant is living a humdrum live until she sees an interest-piquing advertisement for a secretarial position. “Was it really possible that my life could change?” she wonders in response to the ad’s offer of wild new horizons, and she grasps the opportunity with both elegantly-gloved hands. Immediately thrilled by the secrecy surrounding her new employer, an organisation enigmatically known as “Bureau 8”, sharp-minded Margaret discovers that she’s actually working for a secret government intelligence department, and soon finds herself embroiled in their mission to thwart a group of anarchists.

I adored Margaret’s resourcefulness and the novel’s period charm, from the “boyish gallantry” of her new colleagues, to the evocations of Edwardian London. Fuelled by the heroine’s immense appeal, and the flawless plotting, this is an engrossing read, with many funny moments, and I rather hope this gifted debut novelist dishes up more detective delights in the very near future. ~ Joanne Owen

Click here to read a Q&A with Jane Menczer.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Wonderfully atmospheric story set in 1905 London with a most intriguing plot involving a mid-20 year old woman, an intelligence agency and family strife.'
  • Sarah Webb - 'A very entertaining spy story...a romp of a story and the nearly 400 pages flew by.  I’ll definitely look out for future books from Jane Menczer.'
  • Alison Burns - 'This is not a book I would have picked up in a bookshop, but I loved it...From the opening pages to the drama of the final ones, I was hooked.'
  • Laura Rowland - 'A captivating and progressive story about the adventures of a young woman and her desperation to find adventure and the all-important answers which have surrounded her family life.'
  • Sue Mooney - 'Transporting you back to the early 1900's this is cleverly written in an appreciative way of the era.'
  • Kathryn Whitfield - 'A perfect mystery story set in 1905 London that I think everyone will love...The story ends with opportunity for a sequel so I hope for more to come in the future.'
  • Rosie Watch - 'The pages came to life from the first chapter and I felt the whole time that I was reading a film script, I could so picture the scenes, the dingy offices, the gloomy bedsit and early 20th century London.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'The fast paced plot and red herrings keeps you from wanting to put it down so it was definitely a one sitting read for me. Loved it!'
  • Pauline Braisher - 'I've read a lot of very good books over the years and this is one of the best of them...The reader is hooked from the first page and the plot is excellent, with plenty of twists and turns.'
  • Alfred Nobile - 'This was my first foray into historical fiction and this book was populated with a vast cast of characters. I found myself enjoying the story and the escapades of the characters immensely.'
  • Bev Farningham - 'A very well written novel with a great mix of characters that seem to jump off the pages at you.'

Synopsis

An Unlikely Agent by Jane Menczer

London, 1905. Margaret Trant lives with her ailing, irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John's Wood. The pair have fallen on hard times, with only Margaret's meagre salary from a ramshackle import-export company keeping them afloat.When a stranger on the tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to 'open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams!'. After a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop.But all is not as it seems; she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as the Scorpions. Margaret's guilty love of detective fiction scarcely prepares her for the reality of true criminality, and her journey of self-discovery forms the heart of this remarkable novel, as she discovers in herself resourcefulness, courage, independence and the first stirrings of love.

Reviews

'Fuelled by the heroine's immense appeal, and the flawless plotting, this is an engrossing read, with many funny moments, and I rather hope this gifted debut novelist dishes up more detective delights in the very near future' - Joanne Owen, LoveReading'


About the Author

Jane Menczer

Jane Menczer was born in Winchester and now lives in Cambridge. She has worked in a West End theatre, as a nanny, as a waitress, and as a bookseller. Working with Germaine Greer on her dissertation awakened an interest in all the talented and heroic woman from other eras who have been overlooked or forgotten, and directly influenced the creation of the character of Miss Trant. Jane currently teaches drama at a comprehensive school near Cambridge. An Unlikely Agent is her first novel.

Click here to read a Q&A with this author.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

11th May 2017

Author

Jane Menczer

More books by Jane Menczer
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General

Format

Paperback
400 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
Romantic Fiction

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Crime & mystery
Espionage & spy thriller

ISBN

9781846973802

Their sending me my first book to review 18 months ago re-awakened my fondness for reading, since then I have purchased some real gems.

Barry Griffiths

Insightful reader reviews and unbiased recommendations. I don't know how I chose books before Lovereading! An essential for all book lovers.

Sarah Harper

Lovereading has given me the opportunity to delve into new and exciting worlds of authors who I would never have tried before.

Glynis Elliott

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!

Lindsay

If you love reading, then you'll love Lovereading! Full of tips & info for every discerning reader.

Lynne Rapson

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools