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"London Wall"/"Eiserne Mauer"/"The Shameful Suicide of Winston Churchill" by Peter Millar

Max Sinister

Well-known member
This book I read some time ago, but wanted to write a bit about it.

Originally written with the first title, it saw some success in the German translation and later was re-published under the third title.

The AH background: Stalin's troops advance much farther, and even manage what the Nazis could only dream of - they cross the Channel and take at least a part of England in 1949. At this time, Churchill commits the aforementioned suicide - at least, so the official narrative goes. The resulting situation reminds of OTL Germany: The country is split into a smaller Communist - the English Democratic Republic and a bigger Capitalist/Democratic part; and the former capital of London is split as well, with the capitalist part forming an enclave surrounded by Communist territory. There's the (formerly) titular Wall (officially: Anti-Capitalist Protection Barrier), which even has a Checkpoint Charlie. Trafalgar Square was renamed to Stalingrad Square. Communist England is governed by a Yorkshireman, a certain Arthur Harkness - an invented individual, me guesses. Probably parallelling Erich Honecker who originated from the Saarland. Attlee seems to have served as a puppet of Stalin as well. The Department of Security (its members are nicknamed "dossers") is keeping the population in check. And poor Churchill - looking like a picturebook capitalist - has become a kind of bogeyman.

Now to the content set in the present of 1989 (not counting the short overture), in East London (that's the Communist part). Just like in "Fatherland", it's presented through the eyes of a cop. (Who wrote again that AH novels and crime/mystery naturally fit together?) Said copper is Detective Inspector Harry Stark - other than X.M. from "Fatherland" he doesn't remember the time before, he was born afterwards. Coming from a copper family, he's working for the Metropolitan People's Police in New Scotland Yard. Now he has to care for a new case, someone having committed suicide under Blackfriars Bridge - which, as he will discover, has a connection to something bigger.

Meanwhile, his teenager kid in school, plus some friends, seem to be planning something big for the parade when the 40th jubilee of the English Democratic Republic will be celebrated this year. Where they'll appear disguised as figures from the capitalist past. (Evil capitalists wearing top hats and such.)

That much I can tell: They're just playing a prank on the big Communist functionaries, mooning them when their parade wagon is passing by. And it seems that the new boss of the Soviet Union - an unnamed fellow with a big birthmark on his bald head - didn't even think this was calling for a GULAG sentence. So, a happy end.
 
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David Flin

A home of love and laughter.
I've read it, it's not a bad Krimi, as AH its really not very good.

Arthur Harkness is partly a Scargill-clone.
The quality of a story and the plausibility of an AH are two different things. I can't comment on the quality of the story here, but - from what was presented, I could comment on the plausibility of the AH.

Getting both a good story and a plausible AH in one tale is like searching for hen's teeth.
 
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