Ha’penny (Small Change #2) by Jo Walton

Description: In 1949, eight years after the “Peace with Honor” was negotiated between Great Britain and Nazi Germany by the Farthing Set, England has completed its slide into fascist dictatorship. Then a bomb explodes in a London suburb.

The brilliant but politically compromised Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard is assigned the case. What he finds leads him to a conspiracy of peers and communists, of staunch King-and-Country patriots and hardened IRA gunmen, to murder Britain’s Prime Minister and his new ally, Adolf Hitler.

Against a background of increasing domestic espionage and the suppression of Jews and homosexuals, an ad-hoc band of idealists and conservatives blackmail the one person they need to complete their plot, an actress who lives for her art and holds the key to the Fuhrer’s death. From the ha’penny seats in the theatre to the ha’pennys that cover dead men’s eyes, the conspiracy and the investigation swirl around one another, spinning beyond anyone’s control.

“When I was a lad,” replied the foreman, “young ladies was young ladies. And young gentlemen was young gentleman. If you get my meaning.”

“What this country wants,” said Padgett, “is a ‘Itler.”
‘Gaudy Night’ (1935)
– Dorothy L. Sayers

Opening: They don’t hang people like me. They don’t want the embarrassment of a trial, and besides, Pappa is who he is. Like it or not, I’m a Larkin. They don’t want the headline “Peer’s Daughter Hanged.”

A modern day Halfpenny

A rare picture of the Mitford family together, pictured in 1935

3.5* Farthing
3* Ha’penny

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