Yesterday I had the pleasure of launching this terrific new novel by Deborah Burrows. It’s Deborah’s first novel and I’m already waiting for the next one. A Stranger in my Street is set in wartime Perth – I live in Perth but am ashamed to say I knew next to nothing about life here in the 1940s. At the end of the book I knew a lot and I had learned it in the most delightful way – through an intriguing and romantic murder mystery. But there is much more to this story than those elements. A Stranger in My Street is a skilled exploration of social relationships on the home front and it’s grounded in solid research. Deborah is a lawyer who specialises in medical history and also has a post-graduate degree in history. She also understands the art of weaving her research through the story in subtle and enriching ways.
I particularly enjoyed the voice of the protagonist – Meg Eaton – an intelligent, thoughtful young woman who has been robbed of her first love by the war. As she struggles to recover from her loss and to do what so many women were doing – keep her chin up and keep on keeping on – she is drawn to a mysterious stranger who seems dangerously close to a horrible crime.
This is one of those books where you think – I’ll just read to the end of this chapter before I put out the light – and then you find you just have to go on reading. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.