Welcome to the home of the books of Christopher Bowden, author of elegant literary mysteries. Christopher lives in south London and The Purple Shadow is his latest book. His previous ones are The Green Door, The Red House, The Yellow Room and The Blue Book.
The Purple Shadow
In the years before the war, Sylvie Charlot was a leading light in Paris fashion
with many friends among musicians, artists and writers. Now she is largely forgotten.
Spending time in Paris during a break in his acting career, Colin Mallory sees a
striking portrait of Sylvie. Some think it is a late work by Édouard Vuillard but
there is no signature or documentary evidence to support this view.
The picture has some unusual qualities, not least the presence of a shadow of something
that cannot be seen. Perhaps the picture was once larger. Colin feels an odd sense
of connection with Sylvie, who seems to be looking at him, appealing to him, wanting
to tell him something. Despite a warning not to pursue his interest in her portrait,
he is determined to find out more about the painting, who painted it, and why it
was hidden for many years.
Colin’s search takes him back to the film and theatre worlds of Paris and London
in the 1930s – and to a house in present-day Sussex. As he uncovers the secrets of
Sylvie’s past, her portrait seems to take on a life of its own.
Of The Purple Shadow
‘A beautifully crafted, atmospheric and absorbing story with a strong sense of place
and a compelling cast of characters.’
‘A compelling read. You're drawn into the narrative immediately by the vivid description
of a startlingly captivating painting and, as a reader, you're as invested in getting
to the bottom of the mystery as the main character is. Bowden is a sharp observer
and I loved his descriptions of Paris and London and Sussex and the people who live
in both city and country. The novel also spends time describing the lives of jobbing
actors and the British film industry in the 1930s. This may be fiction but you feel,
as you read, that it comes from a place of knowledge.’ The Bookbag
‘Full of idiosyncratic touches and descriptions, this is a story that will keep you
guessing.’ France magazine
‘Christopher Bowden has again created an intriguing, literary tale with a well-drawn
cast of characters. Actor Colin Mallory from The Red House can’t help but investigate
a mysterious painting. The descriptive quality of the writing takes you to the back
streets of Paris, and lets you really feel you are solving the mystery hand in hand
with Colin.’ Lovereading