Lies, secrets and death on the eve of the Glorious Revolution
The History Woman
Calumny Spinks, telling name and all, is an old-fashioned hero, his first-person narrative of the chancer in dire straits reminding the reader of the picaresque novel of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Yet Alexander wears his history lightly – his novel is a bit of a page-turner, reading at times more like a whodunit than a historical novel as the author reveals its secrets slowly and every chapter takes us closer to the protagonist’s truth. Behind the poverty, extortion and murder there is a mischievous lightheartedness in Calumny’s tall stories that keep you going to the end and still leave you wondering what might be happening next.