OK, to continue the last post, let's see how this novel might have worked with a different approach to the historical characters. How about the no-fictional-characters-at-all approach of I, Claudius? Obviously, that leaves Inspector Troy out, creating a very different sort of novel. The so-called Profumo Affair had enough intrigue, drama and memorable characters to fit very well into that style, especially if you feel free to speculate, as Lawton did, on the behind-the-headlines parts of the spy story. The 1989 British film Scandal does exactly that, fictionalizing the historical characters but staying remarkably (for a film) close to the facts. There was a lot of juicy historical material available, since Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies wrote tell-all autobiographies and Stephen Ward's trial was front page news.
For Inspector Troy fans, the story is more fun as a murder/espionage thriller story, so let's accept the need for fictional characters. How about using all the historical events and characters but running the fictional story in parallel, offering an alternative spin on historical events? That describes Stone's Fall, a 2009 novel by Iain Pears. Next post will explore that idea.