Plenty under the Counter by Kathlenn Hewitt #Review #Giveaway #WartimeClassics

Today we have the third in the Wartime Classics series, which has been released by the Imperial War Museum to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. Plenty Under The Counter was written in 1943 by Kathlenn Hewitt. I also have a great Giveaway and the chance to win a paperback copy of the book. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt – a murder mystery about opportunism and the black market set against the backdrop of London during the Blitz. 

‘With a dead body on the first page and a debonair
RAF pilot as the sleuth, this stylish whodunit takes you straight back to Blitzed London and murder most foul.  Several plausible suspects, a femme fatale, witty dialogue, memorable scenes and unexpected twists – it boasts everything a great whodunit should have, and more.                                                  Andrew Roberts

                                                                                  My Thoughts
 This story, written and published in 1943, drips with authenticity and completely captures the atmosphere of life in Wartime London. It is a wonderful part of the Wartime Classics series. I always enjoy a 'Whodunnit' and this has all the right ingredients. You are plunged into the mystery from the beginning with the finding of a dead body and our investigator turns out to be Flight-Lieutenant who is in London on convalescent leave. There are plenty of leads for him to follow and the odd red herring. The pacing of the story is spot on as the clues are eventually untangled.

    Life in Wartime London emerges and there is an interesting thread within the story centred on the Black Market. There is also a wonderful Introduction written by Alan Jeffrys which sets the novel in the context of the London Blitz and the Home Front. London boarding houses such as that owned by Mrs Meake in the novel served those who had lost their homes or were an answer for those who were in transit. In the novel, witty dialogue captures the black humour of the time and there are some sparky characters to follow.

In short: A Wartime Classic which captures the spirit of the time. 
                                                                            About the Author

 Kathleen Hewitt was a British author and playwright who wrote more than 20 novels in her lifetime.  She was part of an artistic set in 1930’s London which included Olga Lehman and the poet Roy Campbell.  

Book link: Amazon UK 

About the Imperial War Museums Wartime Classics series
In September this year, to coincide with the 80th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, the IWM will publish the first four titles of what they hope to be a long and successful fiction series - the Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics.

From The City, From The Plough by Alexander Baron
Trial By Battle by David Piper
Plenty Under The Counter by Kathleen Hewitt 
Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle
Originally published to considerable acclaim, these four titles were written either during or just after the Second World War and are currently out of print.  Each novel is written directly from the author’s own experience and takes the reader right into the heart of the conflict.  They all capture the awful absurdity of war and the trauma and chaos of battle as well as some of the fierce loyalties and black humour that can emerge in extraordinary circumstances.  Living through a time of great upheaval, as we are today, each wartime story brings the reality of war alive in a vivid and profoundly moving way and is a timely reminder of what the previous generations experienced. 

 The remarkable IWM Library has an outstanding literary collection and was an integral part of Imperial War Museums from its very beginnings.  Alan Jeffreys, (Senior Curator, Second World War, Imperial War Museums) searched the library collection to come up with these four launch titles, all of which deserve a new and wider audience.   He has written an introduction to each novel that sets them in context and gives the wider historical background and says, ‘Researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM.  It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

Each story speaks strongly to IWM’s remit to tell the stories of those who experienced conflict first hand.  They cover diverse fronts and topics – preparations for D-Day and the advance into Normandy; the war in Malaya; London during the Blitz and SOE operations in occupied Europe and each author – three men and a woman – all have fascinating back stories. These are Second World War novels about the truth of war written by those who were actually there.

You can read a review of From the City, From the Plough here  and read an extract from Trial by Battle here.


Thanks to the IWM and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a place on the tour.

Follow the rest of the tour!

 Giveaway (UK only)

To win a paperback copy of Plenty Under The Counter,  just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings.

 Closing Date September 21st 2019 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



  1. Thanks so much for your continuing support with this blog tour Pam x


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