A Commonplace Killing

  • by Sian Busby
  • Narrated by Robert Peston, Daniel Weyman
  • 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On a damp July morning in 1946, two schoolboys find a woman’s body in a bomb site in north London. The woman is identified as Lillian Frobisher, a wife and mother who lived in a war-damaged terrace a few streets away. The police assume that Lil must have been the victim of a vicious sexual assault; but the autopsy finds no evidence of rape, and Divisional Detective Inspector Jim Cooper turns his attention to her private life. How did Lil come to be in the bomb site – a well-known lovers’ haunt? If she had consensual sex, why was she strangled? Why was her husband seemingly unaware that she had failed to come home on the night she was killed?
In this gripping murder story, Siân Busby gradually peels away the veneer of stoicism and respectability to reveal the dark truths at the heart of postwar austerity Britain. Siân Busby was an award-winning writer, broadcaster and film maker. She published four books, including The Cruel Mother, a memoir of her great-grandmother which won the MIND Book Award in 2004; and a novel, McNaughten, which was published to critical acclaim in 2009. She was married to the BBC Business editor, Robert Peston, and had two sons. She died in September 2012 after a long illness and will be much missed.

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What the Critics Say

"A gripping murder story in which the veneer of stoicism and respectability is gradually peeled away to reveal the dark truths at the heart of postwar British society..." (Lucy Cavendish)
"A writer with a rare and singular dedication to authenticity...the atmosphere Busby evokes is as melancholic as Graham Greene The End of the Affair." (Valerie Grove, The Times)
"Siân Busby's final novel is a classic whodunit at its very best." (The Express)
"Elegant, spell-binding and unbearably sad...This deeply heartfelt crime novel brings a tear to the eye, for it shows what a fine novelist we have lost." (Daily Mail)
"A writer of rare subtlety." (Mail on Sunday)
"The dinginess of London in 1946 is brilliantly evoked...in this distinctive and engaging novel." (The Sunday Times)
"Illuminating...A Commonplace Killing by Sian Busby is rich in detail and peopled with beautifully drawn characters." (The Telegraph)
"A cracking book." (Lorraine Kelly)
"Extraordinarily atmospheric...a superbly accomplished and gripping piece of postwar noir" (The Times

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An absolute must!

This book is beyond excellent it is a true work of literature. The bombed out landscape and the wave of crime hitting ordinary Londoners who are trying to survive as best they can on rations serve as a metaphor for mental desolation and despair. The author explores three points of view, the killer, the victim and the detective - they are all fighting inner demons and trying to work out what the point of existence really is. The prevailing cynicism is offset by the young female police officer who is looking to the future and presages a better life to come - perhaps. This is a book which really makes you think and question certainties; it is a relatively short in length but very wide in the intellectual challenge it will give you. The narrator is splendid and his voice is perfect for this tale, I cannot praise him enough. Daniel Weyman makes an extremely moving tribute to Sian Busby at the end of the book which will no doubt give you an added insight into the content of the book.
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- iris

Beautifully written

The title of this book tells it all. It isn't a modern detective story full of twists and turns. It is a beautifully crafted novel set in the 2nd world war. The description of the times and the people are well described. Well worth listening too!
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- Judith

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-03-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios