I’ve read quite a few dystopian crime novels over the last year or so and it’s a genre that I’ve come to enjoy. The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith isn’t a crime novel but it does narrate the drama that take place in a world that has shrunk the parameters of its vision.
In a London of the near future, poetry and theatre have been outlawed and woman are now forbidden to work outside the home. Suspicion is endemic and women lead lives bored by domestic chores and scrutiny from both authorities and the men in their lives. In this claustrophobic environment, a young couple, Lucas and Angela dream of escaping from London. Cornwall is, for most Londoners, a land that promises a new life. But the dangers of attempting to escape are immense.
The tone of The Miracle Inspector is wry and humorous which doesn’t mask the starkness of the situation. It took me time to warm to Lucas. He seems both exasperated by the situation his wife is forced to endure but, initially, shows little initiative in attempting to change things. Angela is more assertive but is hampered by the lack of real knowledge of what lies beyond London.
There’s an inevitable sense of impending doom despite the writing style and the plot took a surprising direction for me. To say more would give too much of the plot away. But the book was a surprising and unusual read and very enjoyable. For crime readers looking for something different I’d recommend giving this book a go.
Thanks to the author for my copy.