1961 is one of the characters in Alison Rattle’s V for Violet. Set in Battersea in London, this is a refreshingly different period novel. Perhaps Alison doesn’t get everything completely right (not that I’m an expert on London in 1961), but it’s interesting to look at 16-year-old Violet’s working class life at a time that not many find all that exciting.
Born as the war ended, and as a replacement for her dead war hero brother Joseph, life has been tough for this clever girl who never gets noticed. Her mother adored Joseph, and then there is Norma, her much older, married sister. Violet also has a best friend, Jackie, but now that they have left school, their friendship changes.
As Violet works in her parents’ chippy, wishing she wasn’t so boring and that she was allowed to choose her own job, several girls in Battersea are found murdered. Is it the lecherous park keeper?
Violet meets Beau, a handsome and exciting boy, and she begins to hope. And then her brother Joseph turns up, not dead, and something is not quite right.
It takes a while, but Violet begins to suspect she knows who’s murdering the local girls.
(And so did I, for a change.)
Very satisfying story and just that bit different from many others.