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As with many of Ruth Rendells’s non-Inspector Wexford novels this book hardly qualifies as a crime/detective story. A crime is committed, and we know from the start who did it, but it isn’t the core of the book. The author creates superficially ordinary people who are actually rather odd and do surprising things. It’s the exploration of the psychology behind their actions that is interesting and keeps one reading/listening.
The narrative switches between the last years of the second World War and the present day and follows the lives and loves of a group a people, who met as children in the Essex town of Loughton, and who are all associated in some way with the people or events surrounding the crime. A crime that was only discovered in modern times and the revelation of which brings the now elderly children back together with life-changing consequences.
I enjoyed the book though I see from Amazon reviews that it has divided readers/listeners. Maybe it appeals to older people who can empathize more easily with the characters.
The narrator is excellent.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
Although this Rendell novel begins with a murder, it acts as a plot device to reunite a group of older people who played in the tunnels located in Loughton, near London during the Second World War. The Batchelor brothers and their respective wives, retired solicitor, Michael Winwood, whose nearly childhood was blighted by danger and neglect and his former next-door-neighbour, Daphne Furness, nee Jones. All of the friends have now scattered throughout London, but the discovery of a pair of entertwined hands in a biscuit tin in the tunnels during the present day have repercussions for all of the group.
The book was extremely compelling and was a great choice to take on holiday. Ric Jerrom was an excellent narrator with a deep, expressive and slightly laconic manner. My only issue is with an aspect of the plot is the unsavoury past incident towards the end. That said, it doesn’t really detract from the quality of the writing.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful