Death in Focus

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

Fans of Anne Perry will be excited for a new series from her.  Death in Focus follows disgraced Elena Standish, the daughter of a former ambassador to Germany.  The time is post WWI and Hitler is coming into power.  Elena is trying to find where she fits.  She worked for the Home Office during the war and fell in love with a man who turned out to be a traitor.  Not knowing if she was a leak, the Home Office let her go.  

Elena is a hobby photographer trying to get her professional legs and make a life for her self.  Along with her widowed sister, they are on a trip taking photos at a Economists convention.  There Elena meets a man that she falls for.  This man gets a mysterious telegram and must depart for Berlin immediately and asks Elena to come with him and he will drop her off in Paris, which was her next destination.  You would think Elena had learned not to easily trust men, but she goes with him.  On the way to pack they come across a maid who just discovered a dead boy, still Elena goes.  Shockingly the man is murdered on the train and another man who was following them helps Elena get away before she is taken up for murder.  Elena then trusts this new man with her life and runs instead of staying and telling the police what happened.  

Meanwhile back in England a plot has been discovered to assassinate a German radical who Hitler doesn't like and framing the British for it.  They also become aware there is a mole.  Elena has been caught up in this intrigue.  I am a very casual reader of Perry but I had a hard time believing that Elena, who is still grieving the loss of trust her country and family has for her, who be following everything these strange men tell her.  She stumbled along from one mishap to another.  I read about 45% of the book and had to put it down.  The only way this could have been saved for me is if Elena was a super spy and knew all along who the men are and their motives and managed to foil the plot.  Someone let me know if this is the case because maybe I will finish the book then.  

I was so hoping for a strong female lead for the new series, instead I found a wishy washy Elena who is blown about in the breeze.  Otherwise the book is nicely written and has great historical detail.  You really feel like you are in the time period facing the economic hardships after the war, getting caught up in Hitler's hysteria, and the sweeping changes taking over Europe at the time.
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Today is Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in the U.K. and other Commonwealth countries. On this day in 1919, “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, the guns of World War I finally went silent.

I don’t usually post a review on this day, but this marvelous book dropped into my lap, and it seemed so perversely relevant to the day that I couldn’t help myself.

Death in Focus does not take place during the Great War, but the war and its aftermath directly influences everything that happens within it. Both because all of the characters are still scarred by the war well over a decade later, but also because the seeds of World War II were sown in the treaty that ended World War I.

But that’s something that is taken as a given now. One of the things that underpins this story is that those seeds were sown on both sides of that first conflict. The punishing reparations inflicted upon Germany as the losing side set up the desperate economic conditions that fueled Hitler’s rise to power.

The brutal death toll on the winning side, particularly in Great Britain, led to the tragic appeasement tactics of the interwar years. Britain had lost an entire generation of young men, and few of the survivors were willing to entertain the possibility that all of those sacrifices might be in vain. Many, including those in government, were willing to tolerate anything, no matter how heinous, in order to preserve the fragile peace.

Not that there weren’t plenty of people in Britain, including Duke of Windsor (the former King Edward VIII) who sympathized with entirely too many of Hitler’s goals, including the concept of the Aryans as the so-called “master race” along with the willingness to eliminate any people who were not part of that “race”. A belief that led to the concentration camps and the gas chambers.

While Death in Focus doesn’t deal directly with the factions in Britain who believed that the concentration camp opened at Dachau in 1933 when this story takes place) were just a good start, it does give insight into those, both in government and out, who simply could not face the idea of another war because they lost so much in the last war and couldn’t even bear the idea of doing it again.

So, the story of Death in Focus operates on two fronts. One is the story that follows Elena Standish as she finds herself in the midst of Nazi Germany on the run from both the Gestapo and the British Foreign Service, betrayed by her own country and framed for a crime that she did not commit.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, her father and grandfather are at loggerheads, and not just about Elena’s current plight.

Her father is a senior official in the diplomatic service who is certain that his father, a paper pusher during the first war, can’t possibly know what the current situation in Germany – or anywhere else – is really like. That the old man can’t possibly understand why so many, including himself, will do anything to prevent another war. And that both Hitler and Mussolini are actually doing good things for their countries that shouldn’t be interfered with from the outside.

But granddad is actually the retired head of MI6. He knows perfectly well what happened during the first war, and still has his finger on the pulse of current events around the world. He is certain that another war is coming and is beyond worried that his beloved granddaughter seems to have been unwittingly caught up in it.

Escape Rating A: As much as I got completely wrapped up in this story, I have to admit that what grabbed me wasn’t Elena, even though this is the first book in a projected series that will follow her exploits.

Exploits that remind me more than a bit of those of Maisie Dobbs, particularly in Journey to Munich, where Maisie was undercover in Nazi Germany in 1938. Although Maisie’s official cover doesn’t fail quite as badly as the way that Elena gets dumped in the soup.

Instead, the fascination for me with Death in Focus was on the home front, with her grandfather’s internal conflict. He has kept his secrets for so long, to the point where he and his son have become estranged, because he knows the war is coming and his son, in grief over his own wartime losses, needs desperately to stick his head in the sand and believe that the peace will last. Their characters and their dilemma resonated more for me, perhaps because they felt more fully developed as characters. Elena, like Maisie Dobbs in the first book in her series, has a lot of development yet to come.

In spite of his diplomatic service, her father doesn’t see what is going on because he doesn’t want to see. And in his willful blindness we see the same in plenty of others, including the government of Neville Chamberlain. Hindsight is not only 20/20, but it is downright painful.

At the same time, this is a murder mystery. Elena seems to be trailing dead bodies behind her, and she doesn’t know why. She only knows that she herself is not the killer. So there is a traditional mystery to solve, albeit in very nontraditional circumstances.

In the end, many characters discover that things are not quite as they seem. Including everything that Elena believed about her trip to Berlin and what she discovered. And that while revenge is still a dish best served cold, sometimes the chef for that dish misjudges their enemies and finds themselves served instead.
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First Sentence:  Elena narrowed her eyes against the dazzling sunlight reflected off the sea.

On a vacation in Italy with her sister Margot, Elena Stanford meets Walter Mann and Ian Newton.  An immediate attraction causes Elena to go with Ian to Berlin after a message compels him there.   A shocking event and a request from Ian sends Elena on to Berlin, and into a danger from which she may not escape.

Perry masterfully sets the stage, lulling one into a sense of elegance, music and possible romance.  How effectively she dispels one of that notion.  She describes the emotional environment of the time, --"Fifteen years after the war, everyone still had their griefs:  loss of someone, something, a hope or an innocence, if not more.  And fear of the future."--conveying the almost frenetic gaiety and desperation for emotional connection so well.  Perry is such an evocative writer, and her characters are dimensional and interesting, but it's her perspective which causes one to pause, consider and want to share what one has read with others.  She also understands pacing; taking one seamlessly from tranquility into the threat of danger.

The story is told from several POVs.   One may smile at the timelessness dismissiveness with which the younger generation considers the older one, and of Elena's brother's view of her talent and ambition.  Elena's resourcefulness, strength, and determination; a hallmark of Perry's female characters, is impressive even though one may question the suddenness of Elena's decisions.

There is great lyricism to Perry's writing, particularly in her descriptions of nature, yet there is also a touch of pathos.  In 1933, one is witnessing the rise of Hitler and Mussolini's move toward fascism.  It is somewhat painful to realize how much of the 1930s are reflected in that which is happening today. The book does have a strong historical and political message.  While some may object and possibly be offended, others may decide to learn from it –"Hitler is either assuming more power for himself or appointing bloody awful men to do it for him."

It is Perry's description of those who have been in a war and suffer from what we now know as PTSD, and her portrait of the time's events—"The violence is increasing, and the oppression.  They're building camps to put prisoners in, not people who've committed crimes, but people who are born guilty of being …" that truly brings to bear the reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

When Perry switches gears, it is sudden, surprising, and very effective. She triggers our suspicions and then makes us question them.

The plot isn't perfect. There are points of repetitiveness, a lack of focus, and what feels to be plot holes. The female characters are occasionally too trusting, but that's part of the plot. On the other hand, there is excellent suspense and a very effective sense of danger. One has a real sense of the fear people experienced during this time. Elena's determination to photograph the events she witnesses, and then to keep the film safe, were a strong element one hopes to see continued. One must give Perry credit for making this time in Berlin painfully real and for teaching us details of history we've not known.

"Death in Focus" is a somewhat painful, but highly relevant read.  It does contain a well-done red herring, and a wicked twist leading to a very good ending.

DEATH IN FOCUS (HistSusp-Elana Stanford-Europe-1933) – G+
	Perry, Anne – 1st in series
	Ballantine Books – Sept 2019
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I loved this first in a new series by Anne Perry.  Elena is in Amalfi with her sister, taking photographs for an economics conference.  It is the 1930’s, and post war Europe is seeing the resurgence of right wing factions in Italy and Germany.  Elena gets mixed up in a murder, ends up in Germany as the brown shirts are burning books and beginning their reign of terror.  I was on the edge of my seat throughout the book.  Highly recommended, for the atmosphere, characters and mystery.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Can’t wait for the next one.
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An unusual WW II book with a female as the main character.  Anne Perry has developed a young woman who is able to evaluate her surroundings and take charge of her own actions, then built a whole community of supporting characters that help keep this story line tense and exciting.  The story builds with little effort until our heroine finds herself in a situation that will make you keep turning pages until you cheer when she escapes.  An unusually good story with an original cast of characters.  I would most definitely recommend this one to everyone.
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I give a 4 star rating for the wealth of historical perspective, & it's easy readability. I had it at a solid 4 star, until the end....when I might've wavered to a 3.5 in rating due to the surprise ending...I just didn't know if it 'fit' (it came quick & I didn't see that coming!), but maybe it does...?! It certainly sets up the series, I think! I'll definitely continue on with it, & see where it goes.
This might read easily in the same vein as a Victoria Thompson or Rhys Bowen historical mystery....great historical setting/description/story, along with a good drama/mystery, & no overt sex, bad language, or gore.
I received this e-ARC from the Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine via NetGalley, after offering to read it & post my own fair/honest review.
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Death in Focus is the first installment of a new mystery series by Anne Perry, known for her bestselling historical detective fiction mystery series set in Victorian England as well as a slew of other historical fiction novels. This novel takes place in 1933, fifteen years after the end of WWI. Adolf Hitler has ascended to the chancellorship of Germany and the Nazi Party dictatorship has begun. The story centers around Elena Standish, a young British photojournalist. The effects of WWI have weighed heavily on Elena and the Standish family. They are still trying to recover from the tremendous loss and grief they have suffered.
Elena is in Amalfi accompanied by her sister Margaret to cover an Economist convention. After becoming involved in a whirlwind romance with Ian Newton, a mysterious handsome strange, Elena is drawn into an espionage mission to prevent the planned assassination of one of the leaders in the Nazi Party in Berlin. Things go desperately wrong for Elena in Berlin, and she finds herself accused of murder. She is on the run and is desperate to find her way back to London. Who can she trust?
Along the way she witnesses first hand the fervor of the hatred and horror of the Nazi regime. During a public book burning of books written by Jews, political insurgents, and others not sanctioned by the Third Reich, she captures the essence of the Nazi madness in photographs of the event and manages to mail them to her beloved grandfather Lucas in London.
There are family secrets, betrayals and much intrigue to round out the story. A real page turner! Elena is a dynamic independent, brave and spunky character. I'm looking forward to reading more about her adventures in the next installment.
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Well written. A great read! I enjoyed reading this book and would definately buy other works from this author. The WWI references and WWII setting made you feel like you were in that era. The story was complex enough to grab my attention and hold it. Thanks to netgalley, the author and the publisher for allowing me an advance copy of this book to review.
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Anne Perry has started a new series about Elena Standish in 1930's Europe with Death in Focus. Elena is the daughter of a former English ambassador to Germany and a talented photographer. She is caught up in a plot to prevent the assassination of a  German Nazi in which the British secret service would take the blame.  Through  betrayals and courage Elena survives being blamed for the assassination, but she must escape Germany.  More twists than a corkscrew.  Look forward to more stories in the series, but be sure to read this superb thriller.
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I couldn't put this one down. I had the bad guy pegged from the beginning, but there were plenty of twists and turns to make the story engaging.
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2.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at https://www.NerdGirlLovesBooks.com.

Sigh. Let me start by saying that I've truly enjoyed reading several of the author's books in the Monk and Pitt series. So, when I was given the chance to read the first book in a new series, I jumped at the chance. Sadly, this book did not compare to the other book series I've read. Overall the story itself was interesting, but the book was so uneven I couldn't get into it.

The book is set in the early 1930's during the time in which Hitler built his power. The main character, Elena Standish, is a young woman that used to work for the Foreign Service Office but was ousted because she was involved in some sort of scandal. This topic is referenced in passing, but the author never goes into great detail about what exactly happened. Elena is now trying to work as a free-lance photographer while she recovers from the demise of her public service career. While vacationing in Italy she falls for a young man and decides to travel with him to Paris on her way home to England. A murder occurs on the train, forcing Elena to travel to Berlin to personally deliver a message that could have repercussions across Europe.

Elena acts inconsistently throughout the book and it irritated me. At times she's a young, heart-broken girl trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, and the next she's a skilled former foreign service agent trying to thwart an international conspiracy. Having the character bounce back and forth between these two personas was annoying.

While I enjoy historical fiction books, this one was pretty far-fetched and heavy handed. Large sections of the book felt like reading a history book rather than the author subtly weaving historical figures and events into the story line. When this happened, the momentum of the book stalled. I think better editing could have helped with this problem.

I like this author and will continue to read her other book series, but I'm not sure I would read another book in this particular book series.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Noted and prolific author Anne Perry, acclaimed for her historical novel series, sets  Death in Focus An Elena Standish Novel in 1933  Berlin where the tensions and resentments between Germany and the rest of Europe have begun to corrode a very thin veneer of civilization.  Photographer Elena Standish and her sister Margot are enjoying the Amalfi coast of Italy including meeting dashing new dance partners, Ian Newton and Walter Mann.  When a body tumbles out of a linen closet, Elena is nearby and notices to her distress  how involved her new friend becomes. When Ian announces he has to leave for Paris immediately, Elena impulsively decides to join him. The moment they board the train, the dominoes begin to fall. Elena ends up in Berlin charged with  delivering  a vital piece of information to the British Embassy  She arrives as the plans for book burnings are launched and another murder takes place. . Elena's photography, especially of the book burning, pull her deeper in to the violence and snarling racial hatred. Her instinct to be the chronicler of history puts her in the right place at a very wrong time for her personal safety.

The themes of "nothing is as it seems" and "the determination to prevent another war at any cost" interweaves with the long shadows of shattered families and long held grudges. The secrets are strangling and readers do well to pay attention to them.

Much of this book is dedicated to the exposition and development of British and German characters and a story line that h.ints of at least a sequel.  All the types and characters one would expect to find in a book about this time period surface including Hitler and Goebbels.  However, Perry does not disappoint and the final quarter of the book is fast paced, peaking in  a double take of a plot twist. This is an engaging, satisfying novel which might coin a new phrase, "spy cozy."
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An amazing story that's an appealing blend of mystery and history. Apparently this is the first of a new series by Anne Perry, and she definitely has a hit on her hands. The World War II - era history reads true, and it never gets dry or dull, thanks mostly to all the suspense and intrigue going on.
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Death in Focus (Elena Standish #1)
Author:  Anne Perry 
Publisher:  Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Publication Date:   September 17, 2019
4 Stars

World War I has drawn to a close, and Europe is still hopeful that this “Great War” will be the war to end all wars.  However, at this time, there are already rumblings that things are not ok, and peace is not safe.

After a terrible romantic involvement with a man who would become a traitor to his country, Elena Standish decides to focus on her photography.  Her photography takes her to Italy to photograph an economic conference. Although not looking for a male companion, she finds one in a man named Ian Newton.  They seem to hit it off immediately, and they become even closer after they both stumble upon a dead body.  Ian tells Elena he needs to go to Paris and invites Elena to go with him. Elena accepts his invitation, and the two take off immediately.  While on board the train, Ian goes to get tea, but he never returns.  Elena goes in search of him and finds him crumpled over in one of the other train compartments.  He had been stabbed in the chest and is bleeding to death.  As much as Elena wants to help him, there isn’t anything she can do to stop the bleeding.  In a different way though Elena is given a chance to help.  Before he dies, Ian tells Elena that he is a part of the British military intelligence.  He has information that he needs Elena to carry on for him.  He tells her she must get to the British Embassy in Germany and warn Roger Cordell that Friedrich Scharnhorst is slated to be assassinated. Ian believes that Scharnhorst is a vile man, but he does not want to see England implicated in his death.  Elena rushes to the embassy and warns Cordell of the impending assassination.  Then she attends the rally where Scharnhorst is to be speaking in order to capture pictures of the event.  Scharnhorst is indeed shot, and when Elena gets back to her room she finds a recently fired gun in her closet.  At that point she knows she is being framed, and she goes on the run.  Elena is not sure who to turn to or who to trust.

This was a great thriller/mystery novel.    Elena is a great main character.  She is thought of as one of the weaker members of her family, but shows great strength throughout the novel. A lot of times in a series it takes a few books before we see a major change in our main character.  However, Elena’s first hand view of Germany and Hitler’s growing influence really help transform her.  Elena’s whole family sounds intriguing and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them in future novels.  Perry’s attention to historical details moves the reader as well, reminding us of a terrible series of events that eventually lead to WWII.  


If you enjoy Anne Perry’s Monk or Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, I think you will enjoy this book.  It has a great historical setting, a gripping plot, and adventurous characters.

Thanks to Net Galley and Random House Publishing - Ballantine for an ARC of this book.  #NetGalley #DeathInFocus
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I had high hopes for this new series. I have read all of her books and know that she can branch out from her current series to give us another great one. I still, however, prefer the Pitt series, of both generations. When I saw that she was starting a series set between the wars with a female protagonist I was ready to enjoy it. Sad to say the chemistry wasn't there for me. I just didn't care for any of the characters the way I had in the other series. By the halfway point I simply wanted to jump to the end and then find my next mystery to read.
This is very rare for me and I'm certain that the fault lies with me rather than with the author. I'll be happy to read more about Daniel Pitt but I'm not a fan of Elena Standish.
My thanks to the publisher Ballantine and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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The protagonist, Elena Standish, has made mistakes that have caused lasting damage to herself and her family. Unfortunately, she keeps repeating the same basic mistakes that come with inexperience and naivete. While Perry is not going to cut her main character a break, she does give her the spirit and determination to bring a house of cards down all around her. She falls in love in a minute, she jumps on a train with a self-imposed challenge to slay the perceived dragons and in doing so exposes many to possible harm. She takes a few hard knocks and gives back in kind. It could have happened; so many more extraordinary stories have come out of the time of Hitler’s ascent to ultimate power. The pervasive and eternal question of moral retreat, is it worse to kill or stand by and watch it happen without intervening? That dilemma is all over this book. 

A little bit dated, a little bit confusing, a little bit unbelievable. Anne Perry’s latest foray into the mystery/thriller genre with new characters left me basically disappointed. How many questions can any person pose and answer within the space of a page or a minute? It turns out many and I wanted to scream “Stop it right now”.
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Death in Focus is the inaugural entry in Anne Perry’s new Elena Standish series set in pre-World War II Europe. It is near impossible to comprehend the casualties of World War I. The British Empire sent 8,904,467 men to fight in the Great War; 908,371, or close to 10 percent of the soldiers, never came home. The impact on British society was incalculable.

Elena’s older sister, Margot, was a newlywed when her husband was killed, and the Standish sisters also lost “their beloved brother” Mike. The English—full of patriotism and idealism—called the First World War “the war to end war,” but that was not to be.

Fifteen years after the end of WWI, Elena and Margot are enjoying the beauty of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Elena’s job is to photograph the delegates at an economists’ conference, and Margot is along for the ride. Elena is captured by the history and beauty of Amalfi but feels unequal to the task of capturing it for posterity.

Elena was staring at a woman further down the steep hill. She wore a scarlet dress and was dancing by herself, within her own imagination, perhaps lost in time in this exquisite town on the edge of the Mediterranean, which had lured the Caesars from the wealth and intrigue of Rome to dally here.

A charming man approaches Elena, asking if the dancer is “a figment of a fevered imagination.” He introduces himself, “Ian Newton. Economic journalist. Sometimes.” She responds, “Elena Standish. Photographer. Sometimes.” Elena says the dancer is Margot Driscoll, her sister, and Ian asks if Margot’s husband is with her.

“Margot is a widow. Her husband, Paul, was killed in the war.”

 

Ian Newton nodded. Of course … This was a situation encountered every day, even now. He looked over to Margot, destined to dance alone in a world populated by superfluous women.

Ian asks the sisters to join him for dinner, and during an argument over which dress to wear, Margot tells Elena that her blue dress choice screams “stick in the mud.” It seems in her salad days, Elena fell for a rotter, a man who “had betrayed them all, and she had been stupid enough to help him, albeit unwittingly.” It ended her career in “a high position in the Foreign Office,” a job attained, at least in part, “to her father’s position as British ambassador in several of the most important cities in Europe.”

Since then, Elena has played it safe—that is until she decides to flaunt a come-on-hither black dress from Margot’s closet. Anne Perry paints a bleak and emotionally bereft picture of post-war survivors.

Fifteen years after the war, everyone still had their griefs: loss of someone, something, a hope or an innocence, if not more. And fear of the future. It was in the air, in the music, the humor, even the exquisite, now fading light.

The pivotal phrase is “fear of the future.” But it is human nature to embrace happiness when it is offered, and Elena enjoys herself thoroughly while dining and dancing with Ian. The evening ends unexpectedly when they glimpse a dead body through an open hotel room door. From Ian’s reaction, Elena strongly suspects he knows the dead man. If that is the case, she wonders, why is he lying to the police?

The scene shifts to England to an elderly man in his quiet study; Lucas Standish, Elena and Margot’s grandfather.

Lucas was a quiet man who read about life. That was what he was to others, even to his own family.

 

But he had been head of Military Intelligence—MI6, as it was known—for a good part of the war. In his thoughts, he would say “the last war” because he feared there would be another. He was in his early seventies, and not officially part of the service anymore, but his interest had never slackened, and he knew a great deal of what was happening now.

Lucas and his wife, Josephine, entertain their son, Charles, and daughter-in-law, Katherine, at dinner. Their conversation illustrates the tensions that divide people. Lucas doesn’t want another war, but he’s not naïve. Charles is an admirer of Oswald Mosley, a man who is cut from the same gib as Hitler and Mussolini. Charles believes that the last thing England needs to do is rearm, “let alone building more ships! We simply can’t afford it.”

Lucas’s thoughts conjure up today’s world scene, recalling philosopher George Santayana words, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Lucas says quietly that many people are acting out of fear and hatred and that “we must keep fear in its place, not let it make us act in panic, or with disregard for others.” Although a quarrel is averted, father and son know they have merely papered over their profound differences. Josephine asks Lucas if he meant what he said about fear.

“Yes. Fear begets violence and hatred,” he answered. “It’s the easy answer. Blame someone else. Blame the gypsies, the Jews, the Communists, anyone but ourselves. Get rid of them, and it will all be fine. It’s as old as sin, and about as useful!”

The next day, Peter Howard, a colleague and friend from MI6, asks to meet with Lucas. Howard tells Lucas that he fears Roger Cordell, a man stationed in the British Embassy in Berlin, “might be playing both sides,” and he begs, again, for Lucas to “Come back. Help us to do it right.” Lucas turns him down, but he takes Howard’s warning seriously enough to visit his old friend Winston Churchill, warning him not to take communiques from Cordell at face value.

Back in Amalfi, Elena spontaneously accepts Ian’s invitation to travel with him to Paris after he opens a telegram marked “Urgent” and tells her he must leave immediately. Elena’s journey with Ian becomes inextricably intertwined with Lucas’s past and present—but no more spoilers.

Death in Focus is set in the early 1930s, but the plot is fresh and compelling. Brava Anne Perry! Readers will assuredly count down the months until the next Elena Standish mystery.
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This was a promising start to a new series by the author of one of my favorite series (Charlotte and Thomas Pitt). I loved the historical detail. I studied abroad twice in Germany during college and am fascinated by Germany between the wars. She captured the essence of the Times perfectly, in my opinion, and really avoided anachronistic dialogue and thoughts. My favorite character was Lucas Standish by far, and also Josephine. 

I did have a difficult time relating to Elena at times. She just didn’t seem to be at all how Lucas viewed her. I found her blind trust in a series of men (Ian, Jacob, Walter) to be baffling, especially in light of her past. The part of her I loved the most was her photography. Her passion and knowledge came across beautifully. 

Overall, this was a great read, and I look forward to seeing where this series goes! Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my free digital copy.
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Death in Focus by Anne Perry is a wonderful new series set on in 1930's and featuring a young woman named Elena Standish, a photographer, quite a good one. He biggest failing is that she is young and inexperienced and so, makes embarrassing mistakes. She is in Amalfi with her sister Margo, a war widow who has not really gotten over her husband's death. Elena is there covering an economics symposium. There she meets a young man, Ian Newton, an economics reporter, with whom she is immediately taken. One things leads to another and she decides to leave for Paris a day or two early, with Ian, without Margot. Along the way things happen. She ends up finding herself in a spot of trouble, never certain whom she should trust. In the end, long kept family secrets are uncovered and much danger is averted and Elena may have found herself a new career. 

Being a huge fan of Anne Perry's I was excited to start this journey with her, and now that I have I look forward to accompanying her to its conclusion. Elena is a wonderful character who leaps before she looks sometimes, but is resilient and is able to think on her feet. She is the daughter of an English diplomat so foreign countries are not new to her...an advantage. She is the granddaughter of the retired head of MI 6, a fact of which she is not yet aware. Intrigue is bred into her bones. She is the ideal heroine for many adventures she is yet to have. I am very excited about this series. I highly recommend Death in Focus.

I received a free ARC of Death in Focus. All opinions and interpretations contained herein are solely my own.  #netgalley    #deathinfocus
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Death in Focus by Anne Perry This the story of  Elena, a photographer, who worked for the British government.  A bit slow moving and hard to relate to the characters, it is an interesting and informative historical fiction/mystery novel.  The first in a new series that centers around the Standish family during the prewar years, 1930s.  

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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