As the war in Europe entered its final months, the world teetered on the edge of a Third World War. While Soviet forces smashed their way into Berlin, Churchill ordered British military planners to prepare the top secret Operation Unthinkable—the plan for an Allied invasion of the Soviet Union on July 1, 1945. Using U.S., British, and Polish forces, the invasion would reclaim Eastern Europe for the West. The plan called for the use of the atomic bomb and Nazi troops if necessary—highly controversial, as the true extent of the Holocaust was becoming clear.
Certain settings have long been a common element in British mystery and detective fiction: the quaint village; the country manor; the seaside resort; the streets of London. More than simply providing background, physical setting–in particular the city of London and the British seashore–takes on an added dimension, in a sense becoming a player in the mysteries, one that symbolizes, intensifies, and illuminates aspects of the British mystery novel.