Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Lost Property by Helen Paris. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Hayley at Transworld for my digital review copy. Lost Property is available now as an ebook and will be published in hardback on 13th May 2021.
About the Book
Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she started ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career. Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?
Format: ebook (384 pages) Publisher: Transworld
Publication date: 15th April 2021 Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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My Review or Ten Things I Found In Lost Property
- The colourful characters who work in the Lost Property department: Anita, she of the capacious (but occasionally very useful) bag; Big Jim, denizen of the Pit where unclaimed items go to die; SmartChoice, the latest recruit from the temp agency; the awful Neil Burrows, boss of the department; and, of course, lovely, Dot Watson.
- The humour such as the glorious scene in which Dot is persuaded by Anita to accompany her to a line dancing club, ominously named Descent.
- Dot’s touching childhood memories of her beloved father, acting as (Dot) Watson to his Sherlock Holmes as they investigate mysteries such as The Case of the Imperious Sister.
- Dot’s instinctive understanding that the value of objects that pass through her hands is often more than just monetary. ‘Ordinary objects, extraordinary objects, objects that contain in their bodies a memory, a moment, a trace of a life lived, a person loved.’
- Dot’s deductions about the owners of lost items: their characters, habits or even the destinations they would enjoy visiting. ‘The other day, a man’s aubergine overcoat demanded Amsterdam so directly I was quite taken aback. It was evident in the belt, linked and worn from being pulled too tight, as if the poor chap was forever trying to bolster himself up… Strolling along the Herengracht canal eating a stroopwafel might just remind him of life’s possibilities.’
- The need for precision when it comes to recording the details of an item handed in – no, it’s not yellow, it’s golden syrup coloured.
- That there’s more than one type of ‘lost property’. For example, the declining memory of Dot’s mother, Gail; the imminent sale of the house Dot shared with her; the dreams and ambitions that go unfulfilled. ‘One can lose things in different ways. One can be out and about living one’s life, exploring exciting new pathways… and yes, perhaps one might lose a bag en route. On the other hand, one may stay put, everything safety-pinned securely in place, and risk losing so much more.’
- The sensitivity and insight with which topics such as bereavement, depression and dementia are introduced into the story so that, like a chocolate selection box, there is both light and dark in just the right proportions.
- Learning the London Underground at night ‘smells of fast food and repressed devastation’.
- The satisfaction that comes from doing a job well. As Dot observes, ‘Few things in my life grant me more pleasure than reuniting property with person, undoing a loss.’
Lost Property made me laugh, made me think and, at times, made me a little tearful. What more can you ask of a book? This is a novel you most certainly don’t want to leave behind on a train or bus; I’d say, make sure you hang on to it for dear life.
In three words: Heartfelt, bittersweet, insightful
About the Author
Helen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this, her first novel.
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