Read 18 – 19 February 2012
My Rating 3.5 / 5
I’ve been really looking forward to this book, having heard great reviews via twitter and goodreads. And, coincidentally, the day I picked it up it had made it to number one in the Amazon kindle chart.
So… this book starts with the murder of a prominent individual… he dies in what seems to be a bizarre sex game. As the story develops we learn more about Sir Hugo’s ‘tastes’ and the depths that he sank to in his relationships.
The story is primarily based in Oxford, at the home of Sir Hugo and his wife, Laura, with forays to Cannes, London and Italy and a mention to the authors hometown of Manchester. We follow the investigation as the police officers work hard to untangle the mystery surrounding this death. In order to understand the motive for the death, Rachel Abbott cleverly intersperses the story with letters from Laura to her friend, Imogen. The letters were never sent after the were written and so are read by Imogen as the investigation into Sir Hugo’s murder takes place.
What is interesting with this book is the side stories surrounding the characters; Laura’s family each have their own part and story that plays out, as does the investigating police officer, and I wonder if Abbott will be looking to develop this character in the future; he certainly has an interesting back story that would make an interesting read and I think there is more we can see in the future.
The story is well written and the drawing back to Laura’s early life with Hugo, through the letters, helps build a depth to the character that helps the reader understand her life with this man. The pace is good and there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing to the end.
Ultimately, the book left me a little torn; the murderer isn’t punished, and the police officer acknowledges that this is a conflict between his personal and professional life. Abbott has used twitter to brilliant effect to publicise her debut novel and she frequently asks ‘should murder always be punished, no matter what the circumstances’. In all honesty…. I don’t know. The murder was cool, calm and calculated…. But was it deserved? You, dear reader will have to make that choice.