Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Murder Mystery in an Alternate History

SS-GB : Nazi-Occupied Britain, 1941
by Len Deighton

SS-GB is a murder mystery set in a 1941 Britain which has been successfully invaded by Nazi Germany. The main character, Douglas Archer, is a Scotland Yard detective asked to investigate a killing that seems related to black market activity. However, the investigation rapidly assumes a high political significance. Archer not only has to solve the murder but also avoid being damaged by political infighting. He must also make some decisions on how to deal with approaches from the resistance movement.

The question is: who can profit most by cooperating with whom? The answers turn out to be surprising indeed. Deighton does a great job in describing a Nazi-occupied Great Britain. SS-GB is really the forefather of Jo Walton's recent series "Farthing", "Ha'penny", and "Half a Crown".

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