Unlawful Things by Anna Sayburn Lane [7/10]

A historian enlists the aid of Helen Oddfellow, a London tour guide, the lure being a lost Marlowe masterpiece, and rapidly the two are in jeopardy, murderous jeopardy. If this sounds like Dan Brown territory, Unlawful Things is not like that at all, entirely to its credit. Debut thriller writer Anna Sayburn Lane plots like a dream, weaving together high-action drama and a fascinating historical puzzle. Helen is a splendid character, as is Nick, the journalist who teams up with her, and the supporting characters are complex and real. The settings in London and the countryside are beautifully evoked. The climax and postmortem are both timed to perfection. A great example of a thriller with intellectual panache.

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