The Report- Jessica Francis Kane

Synopsis (from Amazon)

It is an early spring evening in 1943 when the air-raid sirens wail out over the East End of London. From every corner of Bethnal Green, people emerge from pubs, cinemas and houses and set off for the shelter of the tube station. But at the entrance steps, something goes badly wrong, the crowd panics, and 173 people are crushed to death. When an enquiry is called for, it falls to the local magistrate, Laurence Dunne, to find out what happened during those few, fatally confused minutes. But as Dunne gathers testimony from the guilt-stricken warden of the shelter, the priest struggling to bring comfort to his congregation, and the grieving mother who has lost her youngest daughter, the picture grows ever murkier. The more questions Dunne asks, the more difficult it becomes to disentangle truth from rumour – and to decide just how much truth the damaged community can actually bear. It is only decades later, when the case is reopened by one of the children who survived, that the facts can finally be brought to light …

The Report is based on a real life incident where almost 200 people were crushed to death as they entered the tube station at Bethnal Green to shelter from an air raid during the second world war. Although only one character is based on a real person (the writer of the report into the disaster) most of the factors which contributed to the disaster are based on facts.

The factor which was fictional is written well to fit into the real events which surround it. As a reader you can see how it might have been true.

There is little I can really say without giving away the secrets included in this book but it does keep you guessing almost right up to the end. It is possible to work things out by yourself although as a reader you cannot work out exactly how events would pan out.

There is a certain sense that Kane could have made more out of what she turns into a major contributing factor, most of what is interesting about it is waiting for the ‘facts’ to be revealed. Why that factor came about however stays somewhat of a mystery and I would have been interested to find out more about it.

Having said that the text is rather emotive and it made me want to find out more about the disaster.


Buy it:
Kindle (£4.85)
Paperback (£5.24)


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Filed under Fiction review, Historical

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