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LJ Ross Book Club: September
Staying in
September 2021
Reading time 3 Minutes

Northumberland-born LJ Ross is the bestselling author of the DCI Ryan murder mystery series

Each month, she shares an exclusive Book Club pick with Living North readers.

LJ Ross Book Club

This month’s dose of Golden Age detective fiction comes to you from Cameron McCabe, whose novel, ‘The Face on the Cutting Room Floor,’ tells a tale of murder at a London film studio, where actor Estella Lamare, whose role had already been cut from a producer’s upcoming movie, is found dead in the cutting room, her death having been captured on film by an automatic camera – though the reel has inevitably gone missing. The investigation takes the reader from Bloomsbury to Soho, from King’s Cross to the docks in the East End and back again.


‘This is one of those novels that is so very hard to talk about, save to praise its strong sense of place and originality, without giving the game away. It’s a work of crime fiction, but it seems more than that – perhaps because the book’s author was himself imbued with mystery. “Cameron McCabe” was only 22 when his novel was published, and had only been able to speak English fluently for around four years. McCabe was the pen name of Ernst Wilhelm Julius Borneman, who had arrived in England as a Communist refugee from Nazi Germany in 1933. Already well regarded in European literature, he quickly brought himself up to speed with the English equivalent–developing a fondness for Dashiell Hammett, amongst others, which might explain the Noir overtones in Cutting Room, with its hard-boiled dialogue and brisk style It’s an intelligent read, which steeps the reader in 1930s London and offers a different experience to the usual crime fiction formula. Well worth a read!’

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