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Lovejoy Books In Order

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Publication Order of Lovejoy Books

The Judas Pair (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gold by Gemini (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Grail Tree (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Spend Game (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Vatican Rip (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Firefly Gadroon (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sleepers of Erin (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gondola Scam (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pearlhanger (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Tartan Ringers (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Moonspender (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jade Woman (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Very Last Gambado (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Great California Game (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lies of Fair Ladies (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Paid and Loving Eyes (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sin Within Her Smile (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Grace in Older Women (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Possessions of a Lady (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Rich and the Profane (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Every Last Cent (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ten Word Game (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Faces in the Pool (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Writing under the pen-name of Jonathan Gash for quite some time, the British novelist John Grant is the author of the highly popular ‘Lovejoy’ series. Born in Bolton in Lancashire, he’s one of the most well regarded writers of his generation, with a number of series and franchises under his belt. With a long and extensive backlog of work, John Grant continues to write from his home in Essex, Britain, along with carrying with his many titles under the name of Jonathan Gash. The series of Lovejoy itself is perhaps his most enduring, as it has become almost an institution in of itself over the years, spawning countless sequels in the process. Focusing on the character of Lovejoy, it follows his exploits as a dealer of rare antiques, as he uses his exceptional gifts for spotting rare items from forgeries. A likable rogue, he conforms to many tropes of the wheeler-dealer, but it was this particular character that set many of them in place, being at the forefront of the genre, whilst subverting a number of them in the process.

One of the most notable features of this series for many, though, is that of the long-running British television show starring Ian McShane in the now iconic title role. A mainstay for a number of people on prime-time TV, it ran from 1986 to 1994, with a total of seventy-three episodes being aired during that time. Becoming part of the regular schedule during that time, McShane’s portrayal of Lovejoy is now synonymous with the character for many readers; both casual and long-term.

The Judas Pair

First published in 1977, this was the title that started it all, spawning over twenty-four sequels in its wake prior to it being originally being published. Initially brought out through the Harper and Row Publisher’s label, this really set the template for now iconic and much beloved character of Lovejoy. Providing him with his first case, it offers both mystery and intrigue, with a lot of action and tension along the way, as it establishes not only the premise, but him as a character as well.

Set in the everyday world of antique dealing, this casts a light onto an otherwise unseen world, maybe embellishing a little, but still wholly entertaining nonetheless. There’s danger and intrigue set to the backdrop of rural England, elements which many would previously believe to be entirely incompatible as thematic ideas. Weaving a number of story strands together, it manages to build an entire world of its very own, setting up a series that follows many of the same lines. Using the picaresque genre trope, they work well against the English countryside, specifically East Anglia, being somewhere that John Grant knows well himself. The character of Lovejoy himself is that of a ‘lovable rogue’ and a hero brimming with laid-back and easy going charisma, something which was clearly evident in the TV show as well.

Out to retrieve a pair of almost mythical antique flintlock pistols that were previously believed to be the stuff of legend, Lovejoy finds that he maybe in over his head this time. Getting close to the real truth of the matter, he finds that there may be more to this case than initially meets the eye, as he goes about pulling one of his all time great scams to get them. He’s not the only one hoping to get his hands on them, though, as two others are found dead and he really must keep his wits about him if he ever hopes to get them to them in one piece. Will he be able to retrieve the pistols? Can he survive? What will become of Lovejoy as he aims to get his hands on the Judas Pair?

Gold by Gemini

Written the following year from the previous one, this was first brought out in 1978, acting as a direct sequel to the original Lovejoy title. Released through the Penguin publishing house this time, it works at further developing the premise, as well as who Lovejoy is as a character. Set in England once more, it provides another case of sorts for the eponymous antiques dealer, as he fully utilizes all his wits and wiles to solve it.

Following on in much the same vein as before, it works at many of the previous thematic ideas and concepts, building upon them in the process. Using mystery and suspense, it once again sets these elements against an otherwise seemingly mundane backdrop, which nobody would previously suspect as being in any way dangerous. Incorporating snippets from history as well, these novels are well researched in regards to the antiques themselves and the history behind them. Heading once again to East Anglia in the United Kingdom, it uses its location well, as it establishes its action against its picturesque backdrop. With the character of Lovejoy being that of a ‘lovable rogue’ once again, it’s safe to say that he’s reached his status of iconic by this stage.

This time Lovejoy is hot on the tail of some ancient British-Roman coins that have disappeared from a local museum, thought to have been stolen. Falling into the sights of some less than savory characters he gives chase across the English countryside with the aim of getting back and returning them. With ‘Dandy Jack’, the somewhat sinister ‘Rink’, along with Nicole who’s prone to treachery, he must find coins, whilst avoiding being given the run-around be these people. Will he be able to find the coins? Can he ever rely on his supposed ‘allies’? What will happen when he comes into contact with gold by Gemini?

The Lovejoy Series

Whilst many will remember this series for the long-running television show it spawned, it is John Grant’s initial creation that really paved the way for a new type of character. Taking something so seemingly ordinary such as antiques dealing and essentially elevating it, he provided a unique perspective on the profession, making it exciting for a number of people for years to come. His sense of location is also something to be admired here too, as it remains a resolutely British series in the truest sense, with a clear understanding of the English countryside. It takes a real gift to elevate something so apparently everyday and make it glamorous almost, thus making him a character that’s easy to relate to, which is why he’s perhaps his most enduring protagonist to date.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Lovejoy

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