After having stared at volume four of the Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse series for two years, I broke down and added to my TBR by ordering volume three. As the kind donor of book four and five said, it would be best to read them in order. I did – and gobbled down two tomes in two days while recovering after our church & family Easter.
Sophie Hannah, The Point of Rescue (2008)
Apparently a woman has killed her daughter and herself in an atrocius family annihilation. Simon Waterhouse is not so certain, however, even if the mother´s diary seems to confirm she hated her life as a little girl´s skivvy. And a woman in the neighbourhood receives a nasty shock when she sees the bereaved family father, Mark Bretherick. She had a brief affair with Mark Bretherick the year before, but the man on the TV screen is a complete stranger.
The Other Half Lives (2009)
A woman seeks out Charlie Zailer and tells her the amazing story about her fiancé who believes he killed someone years ago. The fiancé turns up with a similar story, but when the police visit the supposed scene of crime, his victim is very much alive.
Both these police procedurals offered intriguing plots with plenty of twists; the kind of mysterious labyrinths I cannot resist. But I wish Hannah would try to make the police force more credible. In The Point of Rescue it wasn´t too bad, but in The Other Half Lives the entire police force are so busy gossiping and squabbling like jealous schoolgirls that it is a mystery how they ever get any police work done. And even though Charlie and Simon aren´t much better with their volcanic relationship, they are apparently the only intelligent investigators of the whole bunch. Well, enough said, and I do find it a bit tiresome, but if you are like me, you will probably conclude that the plots make up for this flaw.
A Room Swept White (2010)
To prove my point I picked the fifth volume immediately. Probably a mistake, but I am fairly sure that no matter when I had read it, I would have been disappointed by the way Hannah handles the plot. Furthermore the battle between Simon Waterhouse and his superior, Proust, reaches new – ridiculous – levels in this book.
The very insecure TV producer Fliss Benson is thrown into the production of a documentary about women who have been tried or improsoned for murdering their own babies but later acquitted.
Despite the horrible theme, cot death or murder, I found this novel boring and disappointing. I didn´t like the plot or the slow progress, and all the characters seemed selfish and spiteful.
Dorte – Thanks for your take on these novels. I almost never read a perfect book so in general, I think that whether we like a novel depends on whether the good outweighs the bad. Plot twists like Hannah’s make up for a lot with me, but like you, I really do dislike it when characters don’t behave in believable ways. I don’t like it when the police are portrayed as completely incompetent. I don’t mind if they’re wrong sometimes but completely unprofessional? No, thanks.
Margot, I am always ready to forgive minor flaws, but I know I am not the only reader who is tired of the incredulous way she describes police work. A real pity as most of her books are excellent pageturners.
The first two sound fascinating, especially the second! Too bad the third (fifth) was such a disappointment.
Too bad that this later book did not live up to previous reads, The Point Of Rescue is the book that appeals to me most.
Been hearing about her for years. Sorry she wasn’t as good as you had hoped.
Kelly, she is excellent at coming up with exciting plots so I´m sure it was just an exception.
Tracy: that was also my favourite.