'Writers' Block', by Judith Flanders - Review

By Taylor, Andrew | The Spectator, April 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

'Writers' Block', by Judith Flanders - Review


Taylor, Andrew, The Spectator


Credit: Andrew Taylor

Writers' Block Judith Flanders

Allison & Busby, pp.350, £12.99, ISBN: 9780749015237

Like teenage children and their parents, authors and publishers have a symbiotic relationship characterised by well-justified irritation on both sides. Judith Flanders's career bridges this divide. She is now best known as an author of innovatory and formidably detailed books on Britain's social history in the 19th century. But she also has worked as a publisher, which gives her an insider's knowledge of the murkier byways of literary London.

Hence the setting for her first novel, Writers' Block , an entertaining thriller whose narrator, Samantha, is 'a middle-aged, middlingly successful editor' in a publisher's Bloomsbury offices. One of her authors delivers a biography of a recently deceased fashion designer. Unfortunately, the designer's company turns out to be an elaborate front for money launderers. …

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