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Kate Atkin­son Dou­ble­day £20

It’s 1940 and Juliet Arm­strong, 18 years old and newly or­phaned, finds her­self re­cruited by MI5. Her job is at first rather dull – tran­scrib­ing the meet­ings of tea-sip­ping Nazi-sym­pa­this­ers com­plete with ‘bis­cuit in­ter­vals’. But as she’s drawn deeper into the world of wartime es­pi­onage, te­dium gives way to ter­ror. A decade later, a more cyn­i­cal Juliet is pro­duc­ing his­tory pro­grammes for the BBC. But her own past re­fuses to be tidily packed away, and its ghosts are soon cir­cling with men­ac­ing in­tent. Atkin­son’s new novel is a treat – cere­bral and sus­pense­ful, play­ful and em­pa­thetic.

Hephz­ibah An­der­son

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