Titus Llewellyn-Gwlynne, actor/manager of the Red Lion Theatre, has lost a backer who was going to fund a theatrical tour – when unexpected salvation appears. Their home theatre in the East End of London having been bombed during the war, The Red Lion Touring Company embarks on a tour of Britain to take a play written by their new benefactress into the provinces. This charming series transports the reader to a lost post-war world of touring rep theatre and once-grand people who have fallen on harder times, smoggy streets, and shared bonhomie over a steaming kettle. The mood is whimsical, wistful, nostalgic, yet with danger and farce along the way.
Love and Miss Harris is a gentle tale of a post war rep theatre, drama and criminals. It is full of moments of farce, excitement and love affairs.
If your looking for the darkness of a modern thriller, you won’t find it in this charming offering, think more Miss Marple, rather than Robert Galbraith and you will be about right. I enjoyed the lightness of touch, the reminder of a bygone era and how the writer caught that within his writing. It seems to me that he wanted to create a story that harked back to form of narrative, much gentler than we are used to, which he does with great skill and obvious love for his subject.
I adored how he created a story, with a multitude of characters and yet made them all feel that they were given room to breath life into the tale he was telling. Each thread from the day to day drama of an actors life, criminals, feuds and attempted murder, all flowed with ease in and out of the narrative, yet it never lost the lightness of touch. No hiding behind your hands, worried about reading on, but still thrilling and exciting never the less.
The best things about Love And Miss Harris is the charm of the writing, the characters who are bold and imbued with a variety of backgrounds and the fine balance between the drama and story telling. Modern feeling thrillers often sacrifice beautifully crafted characters in favor big explosions, gritty drama, gruesome violence, but Peter Maughan doesn’t and its refreshing to find as a reader.
About the author
Peter Maughan’s early career covered many trades, working on building sites, in wholesale markets, on fairground rides and in a circus. He studied at the Actor’s Workshop in London, and worked as an actor in the UK and Ireland, subsequently founding a fringe theatre in Barnes, London. He is married and lives currently in Wales.