Hello and welcome to my Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy by Faye Brann Review. Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum Spy is a fantastic novel which won the Comedy Women in Print Prize. Published by Harper Collins, it’s out now in paperback, audio and ebook. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour. First up the review, then the synopsis and finally a bit about the author.
I very much enjoyed this book, it’s a bit like a cross between John Le Carré (whose work inspired the title) and Bridget Jones. Vicky is a mum of three who misses feeling useful and wanted beyond family life. Whilst the PTA is politically charged and demanding in its own way, it doesn’t quite cut it in the same way a career does. Vicky misses her old job in a special joint intelligence taskforce that she had before marriage and kids. One of the other new PTA recruits is married to a shady Russian businessman. So when MI5 wake Vicky from her sleeper status and ask her to collect intel she realises just what she’s been missing. Except that handling espionage alongside childcare isn’t easy, nefarious dealings don’t stop to accommodate the school run.
I was expecting this novel to be a bit of humorous fluff and was pleasantly surprised! The storytelling is light-hearted, but at the same time the challenges of being a working Mum are very real. The challenges of being a working Mum in such a demanding profession even more so. The themes of motherhood, ageing and relationships, are dealt with sensitively and with humour. The plot is very engaging, I found myself drawn in from the beginning and eager to find out what Vicky’s intel gathering would yield and where the plot would go. The characters are likeable (the nice ones at any rate) and I particularly liked that we learn more about Matisse’s backstory and how she came to be married to a Russian gangster.
I highly recommend this novel for its originality and humour. I hope we get to hear more of Vicky and her adventures.
Do visit the other stops on the tour, see poster below for dates and locations.
Vicky Turnbull has never regretted giving up her career for family life in the suburbs. And apart from being outstandingly good at paintball, no one would ever know that in a past life she was an undercover spy and has been trained to kill a man with her bare hands. Not even her husband, and certainly not the other mums at the school gate.
But beneath the school runs and bake sales, Vicky had never quite said goodbye to the past. So, when a newcomer on the PTA sets alarms bells ringing and MI5 comes calling, she’s determined to prove that despite her expanding waistline and love of pink gin, she’s still every bit the cold-eyed special operative. When the assignment gets uncomfortably close to home, Vicky must decide if she has got what the job takes after all, and if home is really where her heart is…
About the Author
Faye grew up in Essex before running away to drama school. She worked in the West End as a stage carpenter but decided to get a ‘proper job’, for reasons which are still unclear but may have been influenced by Rachel from Friends. After a decade working her way to the heady heights of middle management, Faye met her husband and moved to Dubai where she ditched corporate life for good in favour of having a baby, performing improvised comedy, and gaining an MA from Falmouth University. Now back in London with her family, Faye divides her time between performing in musicals with her local theatre company and working as a freelance copyeditor, but her real passion is for writing novels about (and for) kick-ass middle aged women. Her first novel, Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy, won the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished Prize in 2020.