‘The Peacock Room’ is the latest book by Anna Sayburn Lane.
When Helen Oddfellow starts work as a lecturer in English literature, she’s hoping for a quiet life. But trouble knows where to find her.There’s something wrong with her new students. Their unhappiness seems to be linked to their flamboyant former tutor, Professor Petrarch Greenwood, who holds decadent parties in his beautiful Bloomsbury apartment.When Helen is asked to take over his course on the Romantic poet William Blake, life and art start to show uncomfortable parallels. Disturbing poison pen letters lead down dark paths, until Helen is the only person standing between a lone gunman and a massacre.
This is the first book that I’ve read in the Helen Oddfellow series and I have to admit it was an exciting and cultural introduction for me.
Professor Godfrey has been assigned the task of tutoring a class of students whilst their professor takes time off to complete his book. It’s whilst teaching the university students the works of William Blake that she discovers that they were learning more than art and history under the guidance of Professor Petrarch Greenwood. Meanwhile a character called Rintrah the Reprobate, has created a blog targeting women and gaining followers with their sick and twisted fantasies of what they’d like to do to them. As Helen and her good friends Nick and Barbara delve into finding out who Rintrah the Reprobate really is, they uncover some unsettling findings about the professor as his students are found dead one by one.
This book is genuinely a fascinating story, the dept of research put into the book was phenomenal and I really enjoyed learning about William Blake and the various areas around London showcasing his work. The story is primarily seen through Helen’s eyes but there also extract seen from the character Rintrah as he prepares to wreck havoc on an university event for women. It’s interesting reading his insight as you’re trying to piece together clues to reveal his identity. I hated Professor Petrarch, he’s a sexist, egotistical man who preys on the vulnerable with his sordid parties and throughout the story, I longed for downfall and was at my happiest when his wife Veronica, revealed her true feelings for him, a great piece of writing in the story.
As the story develops and Helen puts her own life in danger as she tries to stop more students from dying, the pace of the story really picks up and make for entertaining and thrilling reading.
Creatively written and atmospheric from the first page, ‘The Peacock Room’ reads like a cosy crime novel with an injection of social media to add some modern twists to the story. Mysterious with a strong protagonist this book was a joy to get absorbed in.
You can buy ‘The Peacock Room’ from Amazon.