It’s been a long summer holiday for First Monday Crime as the last session was in June. Since then we’ve had a heatwave and Autumn appears to be coming early with blackberries ripening and leaves falling down. September will soon be here and we need to prepare for First Monday Crime! And it’s a superb panel of fabulous female Crime authors with Clare Mackintosh, Beth Lewis, Lucy Atkins and Vicky Newham. Rod Reynolds is the token male for the night as chair.
Normally I would have an interview with one of the authors for you but as it’s the holidays it’s a bit tricky to get that sorted out. However, earlier this year, I read Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh. I thought I’d reviewed it already but it turns out that I haven’t.
The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.
One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.
Now with a baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…
I think it’s fair to say that Clare Mackintosh is Queen of the Twist. She’s held this title ever since her debut novel I Let You Go was published. Let Me Lie continues in this great tradition. We’re plunged into Anna’s grief from the very beginning. To quote Oscar Wilde – ‘To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness’. But this is not carelessness on Anna’ part but a terrible tragedy with both her parents’ committing suicide. How is she supposed to recover from this, especially with a new baby of her own and when she lives in her parents’ house, their memories scattered everywhere? On the anniversary of her mother’s death, a few cards arrive, offering condolence a year on. One of them though is a gaudy anniversary card with a typed message inside – Suicide? Think again. From that moment on, Anna sets out to seek the truth about her parents.
Plot wise, I’m not going to tell you anything else because I don’t want to give any spoilers. There are of course the trademark twists that completely fooled me but it was the character of Anna who intrigued me the most. Not only is she grieving but when she does suspect foul play, everyone arounds her assumes she’s losing the plot – a combination of postnatal depression and grief. Somehow she has to battle against others’ assumptions about her to find the truth. Only one person takes her seriously – recently retired police officer, Murray Mackenzie. He’s not really supposed to investigate but the lure of just one more case proves too much to ignore. As Clare Mackintosh is a former officer, her police characters have that air of authenticity. It’s never just about the procedure as their personal lives reflect their work. For Murray, his wife suffers from mental health issues and keeping her on an even keel is a daily task.
Like her other two books, Let Me Lie gripped me from the beginning and it was always with great reluctance I would put it down to feed my children or do the school run. To sum this story up, I’m going to repeat the quote that Clare Mackintosh uses at the beginning of her novel – Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead (Benjamin Franklin). Brilliant.
Clare Mackintosh is the author of the debut novel I Let You Go, which has sold more than a million copies worldwide. It was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club and won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award in 2016. Clare’s second novel, I See You, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and was also selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Both books were voted readers’ favourite, and together they have been translated into over thirty-five languages. Let Me Lie is Clare’s third novel.
Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.
If you want to join us on Monday 3rd September then please click here to reserve your free seat!