The Purple Shadow, Christopher Bowden’s fifth novel  

The novels of Christopher Bowden. The Purple Shadow, The Green Door, The Red House, The Yellow Room, The Blue Book

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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.



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The Purple Shadow is an atmospheric story with a strong sense of place, and is Christopher Bowden’s fifth novel. Christopher Bowden lives in London.

The Purple Shadow.

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From The Purple Shadow.

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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





Christopher reads the opening chapter for Novel London at Waterstone’s in Covent Garden