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19Feb

The best recent crime and thrillers – review roundup

Slough House by Mick Herron; Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson; The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper; Black Widows by Cate Quinn; Lightseekers by Femi Kayode

Mick Herron’s acclaimed spy-cum-political-satire series now stands at seven novels; the latest, Slough House (John Murray, £14.99), is named after the dilapidated building to which failed spies are consigned. Condemned to boring and thankless tasks under the sardonic auspices of the repulsive and increasingly cartoonish Jackson Lamb, in this instalment the “slow horses” are alarmed to discover that not only have their details been wiped from the spooks database, several of their number have met their deaths in ways that may not be as accidental as they appear. Meanwhile, at the Regent’s Park HQ, chief Diana Taverner has been frustrated by the government’s gutless response to the novichok poisoning of a British subject. So she has made a bargain with the manipulative and – with his fluffy hair and archaic expostulations – strangely familiar Peter Judd, a former home secretary turned PR man. As the slow horses wonder whether they are being targeted, Taverner realises quite how long a spoon is needed by those who would sup with the devil … Set against a background of “You Know What” (Brexit, like Lord Voldemort, is not to be named) and yellow vest protests, Herron’s formula of misdirection and multiple viewpoints still works like a charm.

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