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21 December 2022

#Review - Standing by the Wall by Mick Herron

Standing by the Wall (A Slough House Interlude)
Mick Herron
Baskerville, 3 November 2022 
Available as: PB, 56pp, audio, e  
Source: Bought
ISBN(PB): 9781399807081

This is perfect Mick Herron, perfect Slough House. On a dank Christmas Eve, as the office workers spill onto rainslicked pavements for some jollity and the failures of Slough House consider leaving early, Jackson Lamb has a little job for Roddy Ho ('Ho? Ho! HO!' - yes, I know, but the idea of Lamb as Santa, is, well, not exactly funny, but...)

That job, plus the angst and lethargy that seep out of the Slough House wall and carpets, give a hint, perhaps of the next main book (The Secret Hours), due in September 2023. They certainly focus on Lamb's - and Molly Doran's - lives, so maybe we'll hear more of those. But they also drop one or two surprises and feature a status report, as it were, on the interpersonal relationships of the Slough House inmates.

Best of all, we get Roddy monologuing at length. I always enjoy his internal narrative, deluded and self-centred as it is, which seems like tidings form a parallel world. I don't think I've come across any character in recent fiction who is so un-selfaware and whose intentions seem so unpleasant yet who one has to accept is at a fundamental level almost completely naive and innocent. Ho is of course only a microcosm of the entire Slough house experience - a pit of darkness and despair which is it seems, at the same time, the nations's last, best defence against the deeper darkness beyond.

A lovely antidote to Christmasness.

For more information about Standing by the Wall, see the publisher's website here.

1 comment:

  1. Do read and where possible view these best in class espionage thrillers:
    Fiction - Mick Herron - Slow Horses in The Slough House series - an anti-Bond masterpiece laced with sardonic humour
    Fiction - Len Deighton - Funeral in Berlin - shame they chose The Ipcress File for a remake rather than this
    Non-fiction - Bill Fairclough - Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series - a raw noir sui generis novel
    Non-fiction - Ben Macintyre - The Spy and The Tr…aitor + A Spy Among Friends - must reads for all espionage cognoscenti