Michael Mostyne, a thirty-something developer and property dealer, has fallen foul of Great Britains 1970s economic recession. A property crash like no other, it foreshadows the end of a promising career, but it is also the end of his unhappy marriage to Lavender. The tale of his painful struggle to get back on his feet, whilst dealing with the past and an acrimonious divorce, Mike Mostyne leaves his provincial home, moves to London and gets a job running a West London real estate agency. Through hard work, success soon turns to success and his life begins to change for the better. By manoeuvring around his bosses, with their narrow self-interest, his own desire for big money and a wish to be financially independent, means he has to take huge risks.
London is not short of girls, and Mike Mostyne is rarely on his own. Christine, a West End PA and a good time girl, looks at him through a cloud of cannabis smoke. Sofie, a minor Dutch diplomat, disappears when Mike’s son Mark is mysteriously kidnapped by the IRA. And finally, there is Nadezhda Antova, who friends say is an Eastern European honey trap, but who he marries despite their warnings. From rags to riches, and with the next property crash waiting around the corner, will fate finally conspire to finish him off once again? Will, he also find personal happiness with Nadezhda Antova, and why is MI5 so interested?
I came to this book having previously enjoyed Patrick Brigham’s “Goddess of the Rainbow,” interlinked short stories set in Northern Greece, but this time we are presented with the biography of Michael Mostyne, a London property dealer, for over 10 years from the 1970s until the early days of John Major’s premiership. Having lived through those years in a very different environment I was fascinated to see the human face behind the booms and dips of this business. At first Michael gained my sympathy after the deceit of both his business partner and his wife Lavender. His devotion to his mother as she began to succumb to dementia showed his underlying humanity as did his love for his son but as you might expect he is driven by the need to make money and is not afraid to bend the rules. I found the scenes involving his family the most rewarding to read. The eventful story held my interest but sadly there was no detailed description of his relationship with his son, Mark, although he appeared to be so important to Michael.
As Mostyn becomes entangled with MI5 and his son is kidnapped by the IRA the plot becomes more complex. His search for new female company results in a relationship with Bulgarian academic, Nadezhda Antova and once again MI5 need his services. As the book reaches its last chapters there is still much more to happen in the crazy life of this interesting man.
The London Property Boy is available on Amazon UK
My review of Goddess of the Rainbow
Patrick Brigham has lived in the Balkans for many years. Originally from London, where he was in the property business, he lived in the City until 1993 and then moved to Sofia. As Chief Editor of a magazine called the Sofia Western News, and the first English language magazine in ex-Communist Bulgaria, it introduced him to the intrigues of Eastern Europe, and a firm understanding of the people living there.
Now living in Northern Greece, Patrick has published many murder mystery novels as well as stand-alone literary fiction and a humorous play. Writing for the more thoughtful reader, Patrick Brigham says –
“I have lived quite an eventful life, so much of what I write is based on fact. Most of my books concentrate on a particular subject, and The London Property Boy does just that and has quite a lot of me in it. We should never simply dwell on the past, but a colourful past is where much of our inspiration comes from.”