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Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars (2017)

de Miranda Emmerson

Sèrie: Anna Treadway (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
806264,994 (3.48)26
"In this sparkling debut novel imbued with the rich intrigue of Kate Atkinson's literary mysteries and the spirited heart of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, a disparate group of Londoners plunge into a search for a missing American actress. In the dreary days of November 1965, American actress Iolanthe Green has become the toast of the West End. Charismatic, mysterious, and beautiful, she brings color and a sprinkling of glamour to the scuffed boards of Soho's Galaxy Theatre. But one evening, after another rapturously received performance, Iolanthe walks through the stage door, out into the cold London night, and vanishes. All of London is riveted as Fleet Street speculates about the missing actress's fate. But as time passes and the case grows colder, the public's interest turns to the unfolding Moors Murders and erupting political scandals. Only Anna Treadway, Iolanthe's dresser at the Galaxy, still cares. A young woman of dogged determination with a few dark secrets of her own, she is determined to solve the mystery of the missing actress. A disparate band of London emigres--an Irish policeman, a Turkish coffee-house owner and his rebellious daughter, and a literature-loving Jamaican accountant--joins Anna in her quest, an odyssey that leads them into a netherworld of jazz clubs, backstreet doctors, police brutality, and seaside ghost towns. Each of these unusual sleuths has come to London to escape the past and forge a new future. Yet as they draw closer to uncovering the truth of Iolanthe's disappearance, they may have to face the truth about themselves"--"With the rich intrigue of Kate Atkinson's literary mysteries and the heart of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Miranda Emmerson's darkly beguiling novel (the first in a potential series) unfolds in atmospheric 1960s London as a disparate group of people search for a missing American actress"--… (més)
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Set in London during late 1965, Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson is mystery about an American actress who disappears after her performance at a local theater.

When Iolanthe "Lanny" Green fails to show up for work Monday afternoon, her dresser, Anna Treadway, is concerned but she is certain Lanny is just running late. However, when she misses the next day's performance as well, she is reported missing and the local newspapers run with story. Detective Sergeant Barnaby Hayes is assigned to the investigation but he is making little headway as he searches clues that will help him locate the missing actress. When public interest wanes, Anna takes it upon herself to do a little amateur sleuthing on her own and she finds some very interesting details about Lanny but will the information she uncovers help her find the missing woman?

The investigation into Lanny's disappearance is interesting and takes some very unexpected twists and turns. Unfortunately, the bulk of the storyline is not focused on the mystery surrounding the missing woman. Readers are instead introduced to a number of people whom Anna either already knows or she meets during her search for Lanny. DS Hayes is the only person in an official capacity trying to find Lanny and even he is facing prejudice from the people he works with. The unfolding story is a little convoluted and disjointed and feels more like social commentary for the diverse characters who are involved in the search for the actress. Each of the characters' issues are interesting and thought-provoking but the mystery element of the story quickly feels like an afterthought.

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson is a fascinating peek into lives of an eclectic and diverse set of characters in London during the mid 1960s. The mystery surrounding Lanny's disappearance is quite intriguing and all of the loose ends about what happened to the actress are completely wrapped up by the novel's conclusion.
( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
Anna Treadway is an independent young woman working as a dresser in London's Theatreland, her charge is ageing starlet Iolanthe Green. When Lanny goes missing Anna is determined to find her and her search leads her into the louche underworld of sixties society. Also searching for Lanny is Detective Barnaby Hayes, an Irishman with a rocky marriage and suffering prejudice at work. When they team up with Jamaican accountant Aloysius the search reveals racism, worry and a secret around an unwanted pregnancy.

This is a very interesting book in that it wears it's 'big' themes very lightly, burying them deep in an entertaining tale. Whilst ostensively a detective story, there isn't really a crime and this is more a story about society and its prejudices. Barnaby has changed his name because he is too Irish, Anna's father was interred during the war as an enemy alien and Aloysius is black, Lanny has a secret about her ancestry as well. It is set in the 1960s but there aren't that many cultural references however abortion is still illegal and Anna and Lanny have both got pregnant out of wedlock so that is explored. The actual narrative is not too challenging and bounces along quite pleasantly but the underlying themes of the book resonate and that makes it both clever and something more thought-provoking. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
While it took me a little while to get into this story, by halfway through the book I couldn't put the book down. It wasn't what I expected, but that's okay because Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars is more literary and substantial than I thought it would be. It sounds like a mystery, and along the way a lot is revealed, but it’s more about the people in the story rather than a crime that needs solving. Characters are one of its strengths and they include Anna with her secrets, an Irish police officer trying to appear British and his unhappy wife, the Turkish family who run the restaurant Anna lives above, and a black Jamaican accountant who wants to fit in. It’s set in 1965 so there are references to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Carnaby Street, but it’s not a lighthearted swinging sixties story. Instead it explores themes like racism, classism, immigration, and repression. The writing is atmospheric and full of mood-setting description that's lush and gritty, heartwarming and heartbreaking.

I read an advanced review copy of this book supplied to me at no cost and with no obligation by the publisher. Review opinions are mine. ( )
1 vota Jaylia3 | Apr 14, 2017 |
Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars is as English a book as you can find. From the darling title to the story of ordinary people going to extraordinary lengths out of a sense of duty to each other and to their ideals, it is a very English book, rich in English culture and values. Yet, every character in the book is an immigrant, even the unstoppable Miss Treadway. This may be Miranda Emmerson’s first novel, but she writes with the confidence and sure-footedness of long experience.

Anna Treadway is a dresser for the fabulous American actress, Iolanthe Green, who mysteriously disappeared one night, walking back to her hotel from the theater. Anna, who moved to London from Wales, is determined to find her, believing the police are simply not doing enough. She lives above a cafe run by Ottmar, an immigrant from Turkey. She had worked at the cafe when she first came to London and Ottmar has a soft spot in his heart for her. On the part of the police, Barnaby Hayes, an immigrant from Ireland, is working harder than Anna supposes, his devotion to his work supplanting his devotion to his wife and daughter. In her investigations, Anna meets Aloysius, an immigrant from Jamaica, whose aspirations are as country-home British as they come.

I loved Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars but probably not for obvious reasons. The mystery is more a game of tag and there is an extraordinary number of people being in the same place at the same time and despite Miss Treadway and Inspector Hayes worries about “why women disappear” there is not much suspense or tension in the mystery. But then, I am not convinced that the mystery is the point of this novel at all.

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars is about identity and belonging. It is about how people reinvent themselves. It’s no spoiler to inform you that nearly every character has two names. There’s Barnaby (Brennan), Iolanthe (Yolanda), and Aloysius (Louis) and even Miss Treadway has a surprise or two, or three. This is a story of immigrants assimilating. When the Jamaica-born Aloysius is brutalized by racist police, it does not matter than he is a “suit-wearing, tea-drinking, Financial Times and Evelyn Waugh reading man of London town.” He is black and though “the man in his head had become far whiter” that is not the man the police see.

Anna Treadway finds her own identity in question, her faith in institutions crumbling in the face of injustice. Emmerson described it as feeling as though “somehow the institutions belonged to her. She had a sense of ownership” of the social, political, legal institutions of the country. She also wrote about Anna wondering how Aloysius perceived her skin color, was it as evident to him as his was to her or did her pale complexion signify “the blankness of a slate?” The phrase “white privilege” raises so many hackles, but perhaps Emmerson’s descriptions, the sense of ownership of the kingdom’s institutions, the blankness of the slate–a slate clear of negative stereotypes in the minds of police, for example. It was heartening to see new metaphors for privilege that perhaps are more effective because they don’t trigger defensiveness so quickly.

The characters in Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars are interesting, complex, and everything that matters to the story. There’s a bit of unlikely coincidence, but it is such perfect coincidence, that I embrace it all.

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars will be released February 27, 2017. I received an advance e-galley from the publisher through Edelweiss.
★★★★★
http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/9780062476722/ ( )
1 vota Tonstant.Weader | Jan 31, 2017 |
This book turned out to be not what I was expecting at all. I think I had in mind a jolly 60s caper (partly because of the lovely cover) and what I actually got was a serious story about racism and family problems amongst other things.

There's a lot going on in this story and quite a few different strands. The disappearance of Iolanthe Green, the missing actress, is what the story revolves around and yet in a way the focus was on everybody but her. We meet policeman Barnaby Hayes and he features a fair amount in the story, but I was left wondering what the point of him being such a main character was, and the conclusion to his story was sadly lacking.

The ending was extremely abrupt and I kept pressing the button on my Kindle thinking that there must be more. I couldn't even remember who the final character mentioned was and had to go back and search through the book. Even then, I'm not sure what the relevance of mentioning them was.

I liked many aspects of this book. I liked Anna Treadway and I particularly liked her gentle and kind friend, Aloysius. Theirs were the sections of the story that stood out for me. Whilst there isn't a major 60s feel to it, I did enjoy reading about the places that they visited whilst searching for Iolanthe. I thought the prejudices of the period were portrayed quite well and there were some sections that were very uncomfortable and shocking to read.

This is a hard book for me to review. I did feel that all the strands didn't quite come together. The author is a lovely writer but maybe the level of detail and the number of characters was too much for me. I do think the book will be a success though and Miranda Emmerson has a fine way with words. ( )
1 vota nicx27 | Jan 8, 2017 |
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"In this sparkling debut novel imbued with the rich intrigue of Kate Atkinson's literary mysteries and the spirited heart of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, a disparate group of Londoners plunge into a search for a missing American actress. In the dreary days of November 1965, American actress Iolanthe Green has become the toast of the West End. Charismatic, mysterious, and beautiful, she brings color and a sprinkling of glamour to the scuffed boards of Soho's Galaxy Theatre. But one evening, after another rapturously received performance, Iolanthe walks through the stage door, out into the cold London night, and vanishes. All of London is riveted as Fleet Street speculates about the missing actress's fate. But as time passes and the case grows colder, the public's interest turns to the unfolding Moors Murders and erupting political scandals. Only Anna Treadway, Iolanthe's dresser at the Galaxy, still cares. A young woman of dogged determination with a few dark secrets of her own, she is determined to solve the mystery of the missing actress. A disparate band of London emigres--an Irish policeman, a Turkish coffee-house owner and his rebellious daughter, and a literature-loving Jamaican accountant--joins Anna in her quest, an odyssey that leads them into a netherworld of jazz clubs, backstreet doctors, police brutality, and seaside ghost towns. Each of these unusual sleuths has come to London to escape the past and forge a new future. Yet as they draw closer to uncovering the truth of Iolanthe's disappearance, they may have to face the truth about themselves"--"With the rich intrigue of Kate Atkinson's literary mysteries and the heart of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Miranda Emmerson's darkly beguiling novel (the first in a potential series) unfolds in atmospheric 1960s London as a disparate group of people search for a missing American actress"--

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