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The Second-Last Woman in England

By Maggie Joel

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• Fiction/Mystery • 352 pages

ISBN: 9781934609996

It’s 1952, and for England, it’s a bright new world. The Depression is over, the War is over, even the rationing is nearly over, and a new queen, young Elizabeth, is due to be crowned next June. Mrs. Harriett Wallis should be happy. Her husband has an important job, the children are settling in with the new nanny, the new fashions are terrifically flattering, and the War is done. Unfortunately, in just a few months, Mrs. Harriett Wallis will become the second-last woman in England to be sentenced to death.

This is a tragedy of manners, like a Jane Austen novel in 1950s London, precisely observed and very astute about class distinctions. As Bookseller+Publisher writes, “Joel has achieved the perfect sense of time and place,” brilliantly capturing the atmosphere of post-war Britain, and the pervasive sense that the War was still very much present in people’s lives.  A whydunit, The Second-Last Woman in England manages to keep the suspense going even though we know how the story ends for Harriett Wallis.

This is Maggie Joels’ U.S. debut; the novel was originally published in Australia, where Joel resides.

Who's Likely to Like This

Fans of Helen Simonson Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and the novels of Barbara Pym

"The mesmerising story crackles with atmosphere and delivers some great twists"—Australian Women's Weekly