A bout of Sophie Hannah

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.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in British, review, review 2012, Sophie Hannah. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A bout of Sophie Hannah

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. Kelly says:

    The first two sound fascinating, especially the second! Too bad the third (fifth) was such a disappointment.

  4. Petty Witter says:

    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.

  5. p881 says:

    Been hearing about her for years. Sorry she wasn’t as good as you had hoped.

  6. 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.

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