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The Innocent Spy (DI Ted Stratton, #1)
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The Innocent Spy (DI Ted Stratton #1)

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  258 ratings  ·  58 reviews

London, June 1940. When the body of silent screen star Mabel Morgan is found impaled on a wrought-iron fence, the coroner rules her death as suicide. Detective Ted Stratton is not convinced and suspects that Morgan’s fatal fall may have been the work of one of Soho’s most notorious gangsters.

Meanwhile, MI5 agent Diana Calthrop is leading a covert operation when she discove

Hardcover, 464 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Aug 09, 2009 Jeffrey rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans who enjoy mysteries and spy novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Seaman
This book does not settle well into one genre. The title says spy. The cover says police procedural. A cover quote says murder mystery. It is set early in the second world war in Britain. There are British who admire Hitler and British who do not. There is an American who wants America to stay out of the war. There is a policeman who just wants justice for a murdered woman. Then there is Diana, a recently recruited spy, who is in over her head, both in the spy work and in her family. It felt rea...more
title read by me was Stratton's War. this would have been a much better read at 300 rather than 450 pages. way too wordy though the description of London during WWII is well-done.
Ian Mapp
Or should it be called Calthorpe's war.

Interesting tale, with a good sense of place and time and nice characterisation. Let down by an outrageous piece of co-incidence.

Sratton is a central london detective in the 1940 london. A land of the blitz, moral posters, black marketing and cockney geezers.

A silent movie actress is found on the railings outside her fizgrovia flat and it peaks his interest.

In alternating chapters, we are introduced to Diana Calthorpe. She works for the secret service and i...more
Rob Kitchin
Stratton’s War is part of the burgeoning number of crime novels using the Second World War as its backdrop. The intersection here of MI5, police and London underworld makes for an interesting story, and the double, intersecting plot lines of Ted Stratton and Diana Calthrop is for the most part well constructed. Wilson has managed to capture the class divisions and social order of London, and the sensibilities and lives of those working and living in the city. The book recreates the tense, claust...more
Shawn Davis
Set during the London Blitz, DI Ted Stratton is investing the death of silent film star Mabel Morgan. On the surface an obvious suicide, Stratton can't shake the gut feeling that there is more to her death than it initially seems.

At the same time, upperclass Diana Calthrop finds herself digging deeper into the intrigue of wartime MI5 as she retreats from her unhappy marriage.

Although they don't know each other, their cases are intricately intertwined in a tangle of espionage, multiple murder, hi...more
SETTING: London in 1940
SERIES: 1 of 2

The Innocent Spy

London in 1940 is a city under siege. Every night, the residents must seek protection from the bombing raids of the enemy. Although the average person's life is very much centered around surviving the Blitz, there is one area that has not changed. In spite of the war, crime has not taken a vacation. And Detective Inspector Ted Stratton is very convinced that a crime has taken place when he investigates t...more
STRATTON'S WAR is the first in an new planned series of crime novels featuring Ted Stratton, a Detective Inspector in the London police during the Second World War. This book includes a second protagonist - Diana Calthorp, young, socialite, not long and unhappily married and unexpected MI5 agent, involved in a covert operation against sympathisers and spies in the local community.

It's a very elaborate, multi-layered story. The death of a silent film star who hasn't worked for many years is the...more
Lizzie Hayes
‘Stratton’s War’ by Laura Wilson
Published by Orion. February 2008.
ISBN 978-0-7528 7623-8 (Hardback) 978-0-7528-7624-5 (Trade Paperback)

DI Ted Stratton is a policeman working in central London in 1940. He is married to Jenny and their two children who have been sent out of London for safety. His home life is happy, apart from the constant entreaties from his wife, which he is beginning to dread, to bring back the children from the country as she misses them. His extended family leave something...more
Nelda Pearson
This is a good complicated read. Two life plots intertwine and its more than half the novel beforethe two key characters Diana Calthrop and Ted Stratton come together. Diana, terribly unhappily married and very young, goes to work for the War Dept during WWII and ends up in MI5--hence the title of the novel. DI Ted Stratton,the key character and core of the series, is suspicious of the suicide of a former silent screen star beauty. The plot combines the spy novel of LeCarre and the psychological...more
This book probably would have played out much better if Wilson had stuck with the murder (or is it?) mystery with Stratton as its central character. Unfortunately, there's also the story of Diane (Diana? I don't really care, though I was just reading this yesterday), a married socialite-turned-sort-of-spy, who's trying to get information on I don't care what.

I don't know how these stories are supposed to intersect, because 150-plus pages in, the two main characters haven't met and their plots se...more
I'm glad I got this one in during 2009. It has moved directly to the top of my best reads. I will have to track down the rest of Laura Wilson's books.
DI Ted Stratton is in charge of the investigation into the death of Mabel Morgan, former silent screen star. The coroner quickly rules it a suicide even though Stratton is not certain about the veracity of the ruling. Meanwhile, Diana Calthrop, high society lady, begins a job in MI5 that quickly turns deadly. The path between these two disparate pe...more
Very disappointed in this book. It was 200 pages too long. I thought from the awards it received and the synopsis of the book that it would be a great read. Way too detailed about things that had no bearing on the case. The ending left u guessing and never wrapped the mystery up. Diana's affair is pathetic and her reappearing husband is not relevant to anything. Stratton is happily married, but author yoyo's back and forth on that relationship for no reason. As this murder combined a local polic...more
Laura Wilson in a foreword talks about how she didn't want to get stuck with a main character that she eventually gets to hate. She says some authors say I wish I knew he/she were going to stay around because I wouldn't have made him so tall, short, annoying etc. With Ted Stratton she doesn't have to worry about annoying characteristics because he's so nice and normal he's bland. I did like him and I'll carry on with the Ted Stratton books to see what happens but there's no burning need to turn...more
Could not put this down although not an easy read as the characters were many and the plot twisted and turned. It was very atmospheric I could really imagine London during the blitze in the early stages of Second World War.
The contrast between the "classes" added a dimension I was not expecting and the two lead characters were well drawn.
I will be looking for more in this series
This was quite entertaining largely due to the world war 2 London setting and the character of Chief Inspector who is a straight down the line man who is happily married and not an alcoholic nor depressed .
The writer moves easily between the various settings of the criminal underworld , the film business , high level government mostly led by homisexuals . right wing pro Hitler gatherings , the cop shop and the domestic life of CI Stratton fluidly and the strands of all these elements are well h...more
I really enjoyed this book - a cross between a murder mystery and espionage thriller. The characters rang very true for me, fitting nicely with what I know about WWII London (which only comes from other books and movies). The relationship of Ted Stratton and his wife was central to the book and I found it a very believable and moving portrait of a marriage. I did find the ending a little disappointing in that I wanted it to resolve more like a mystery where the good guys prosper and the bad ones...more
Susan Brown
I started this book because of the time and place (London in the second world war), hoping for a cozy detective read, and this is indeed how it started out. But then MI5 entered the plot and for me the whole story became convoluted and plodding, not to say confusing. It seemed the author could not decide between a cozy and a spy novel, and in this case the two did not mix well. I did like the protagonist and his relationship with his wife, Jenny. They were a close, demonstrative couple - rare in...more
Wesley Paine
Realistic depiction of London just before and during the blitz. I'll try another by this author.
I don't know if I hyped it or not, but I wasn't as excited about this book as I thought I was going to be. This book had three components that I love Historical Fiction, the UK and mystery, yet I didn't find myself connected to any of the characters as I thought I would be. They were almost lacking and I found myself simply wanting to "get through the book." What a let down!! I am not even sure if I would continue on with the series. The one thing I did find fascinating was how the author wove i...more
Really a 2 1/2 from me - although I would have given it a 3 until it ended way too abruptly and predictably. This mystery involves Stratton, a detective working his "beat" during London in WWII, and Diana, a spy (although her role is never quite believable). I enjoyed the interweaving of the two worlds, but I was hoping to be surprised by the villain. Alas, I was not rewarded. The denouement was rushed and I couldn't quite buy Diana's role. Stratton's character, however, was the best thing in th...more
For something billed as both a police procedural and an espionage thriller, this was rather dull. The story was a clever pulling together of several different puzzles but it never reached that level of suspense and intrigue that pulled me to the edge of my seat. I never felt compelled to finish the story in one sitting because I was so engrossed in the action I couldn't put it down. It was a good story but not great. The historical setting added to the interest.
A somewhat plodding police procedural with great characters. Ted Stratton, working class copper and Diana Calthorp, glacial misguided debutante, brought together by espionage and crime in London 1940. The Blitz details sharpen the sense of doom and dread. I'm not sure whether the book has overtones of anti-semitism and homophobia or is commenting on the existence of such in that world. Certainly Miller draws the class-based distinctions vividly.
Stevie Carroll
I'm really rather fond of Stratton after just one book in the series. He has less objectionable views than his fellow policemen, without ever being anachronistically liberal. And he's rightfully dischuffed when others interfere in his case for reasons he can't possibly agree with. Also he has an entertaining extended family of people he likes, and people he barely tolerates. I have the second in the series already lined up to read shortly.
Jan 17, 2010 J marked it as to-read
Picked from new item shelf, not read yet, and had to return w/ late fees. arrg

this outstanding first in a series set during WWII. In the summer of 1940, Det. Insp. Ted Stratton investigates an apparent suicide that leads him into a maze of brutal gang violence and bland official evasion. Meanwhile, icily beautiful upper-crust Diana Calthrop tries to escape a hateful marriage by devoting herself to MI5 intrigue.

on list 2009.10.05
I found this book enthralling. Set in WWII London it follows paralleling plot lines. In the first, a veteran police officer is bristling at being pushed to treat a crime scene as a suicide. In the second an upper class beauty begins working for what will become MI5. Eventually the two plot lines merge. Interesting and human characters, dense period detail and careening plot twists are a part of the ride. Highly recommended!
Johanna Markson
very disappointing. WWII mystery where half way through the book you realize it may actually be about aristocratic MI5 spy masters who are not only working to protect England from invasion and internal sabotage, but also are working to protect themselves from anyone finding out they are secretly gay. Yikes. The two main characters are interesting but the end result is just weird.
Mary Kay
Ted Stratton is a DI in London in 1940, who finds himself in the middle of spies and double agents while he tries to solve the death of a former silent movie star. This book is particularly reflective of the class distinctions prevalent at that time. We also see the anguish of parents separated from their children & the nightly horror in London during the Blitz.
Am looking for the sequel due out soon. A good read and another atmospheric story set during the blitz. Two plot lines, one a murder investigation, the other infiltration of right wing British organization, converge into a story of hidden sexual identity, the fear of discocery, and the pro-German, anti-jewish proclivities of some of the British upper crust.
I'm glad there is a sequel to this book, because it left me feeling pretty confused. This is a complex and compelling story, set in early WWII, about espionage and counterespionage. I liked most of the characters and the plot was well-paced; I'm just not sure what exactly happened at the end!
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There is more than one author with this name

Laura Wilson is an English crime-writer based in London, where she was born and raised. She has degrees in English Literature form Somerville College, Oxford, and University College London, and has worked as a teacher and editor of non-fiction.

Many of her novels have either a historical setting or a distinct historical connection, and often have split or...more
More about Laura Wilson...
An Empty Death (DI Ted Stratton, #2) A Capital Crime (DI Ted Stratton, #3) A Little Death My Best Friend The Lover

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