Quercus, 2015 (2015)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
eter Crookham is a very successful architect, married to beautiful German Mariana, the woman of his dreams, and with wealthy clients (thanks in large part to Mariana's looks and social skills). But his idyllic life is brutally torn apart one day when he arrives home, expecting to dine with Mariana and his journalist kid brother Andy. Instead he finds Andy stabbed to death and Mariana covered from head to toe in blood, yet acting as if nothing unusual has occurred.
hough Peter remains in denial for a long, long time, the police quickly arrest Mariana for murder. And, even after he accepts that she must have done the deed and grieves for his brother, Peter still questions why and what left her in the almost catatonic state in which he found her at the murder scene. So, after repeated warnings to stay away from Mariana's past, he travels to Germany to find out what might have happened to trigger such a terrible act.
hile all this is going on, the author takes readers back in time to 1978 Frankfurt, introducing a very nasty character, Hans-Peter Tretow, whose sins have caught up with him, forcing him to seek
in East Germany. There he exchanges secrets for his personal safety, which he is assured even though his handlers find him despicable.
n modern day Germany, Peter hires a PI and they turn up a link to an orphanage, whose abusive caretaker was protected by the authorities. But following this elusive trail, they are '
walking blindfolded into a minefield
', just as Andy did. What is the secret that someone is killing to protect and what does it have to do with Mariana?
hese questions pull reader interest through the story and out the other end. And Peter Crookham, a very ordinary man, does get his answers.
is an unusual and engrossing mystery.
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