London theatre district viewed through a swastikaThis is the second book Walton has set in an England which made peace with Hitler’s Germany. Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard is again one of the point of view characters. He trades chapters with a new character, Viola Lark who, on the first page of the book, is offered the lead in a gender-swapped production of Hamlet.

The production is dealt a setback when the actress slated to play Hamlet’s mother dies along with another man in an explosion at her house. Inspector Carmichael is assigned to the investigation of the explosion and deaths. The explosion would seem to have nothing to do with the play, but when it’s revealed that Adolf Hitler himself plans to attend the play’s opening night along with the British Prime Minister, things start looking a little more suspicious.

The book highlights how hard it is for people concerned with their everyday lives to believe in atrocities committed in other parts of the world. And even when the atrocities come into focus how hard it is to see how they apply to those mundane lives. Alongside that abstract message, Walton shows how easy it is for her two sympathetic main characters to fall into situations where they may commit terrible acts of their own.