We have a great fondness for cult 60s’ TV series, like The Persuaders, The Champions, and so on, partly because they were so slick – full of beautiful people, great locales, lovely styling, witty dialogue and wonderful music scores, usually by John Barry – and partly because we binge watched them on DVD, trying to spot a friend’s mama who was one of the cool, leggy blonde aristos who appeared in so many of them. Francis Booth’s Code 17, set in 1967, pays tribute to this time, the Golden Age of British TV and 60s’ pop culture in general.

Tongue in cheek, it’s written in an episodic format and centres on the escapades of woman about town Lady Laura (Lady Laurencia Artemisia Claudia Summer), who whizzes about in a Vitesse, mingling with people named Muffie and Jonty (I grew up with one) and lurching from adventure to adventure. Lady Laura is a diluted Emma Peel in art dealer form and will be satisfying for anyone who crushed on a leather-clad Ms Rigg or besuited Ms Bastedo.

This is good fun: fast, frothy and littered with a cast of lively characters, real and imagined, who hold our attention, exactly like an episode of a 60s’ cult spy series.

A perfect poolside read.


Francis Booth | Code 17 | Amazon | paperback  and digital

See also: Code 17.2


Background music: Vendetta’, John Barry

Also of interest: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Felton, Remembered’; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).


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