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The Other Side Of The Door    by Nicci French order for
Other Side Of The Door
by Nicci French
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2021 (2021)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's another disturbing and puzzling psychological mystery from the bestselling husband-and-wife team of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (pen name Nicci French). They always work from an unusual premise and this story - which alternates between Before and After a murder - is no exception.

After sets the scene, showing what faces our protagonist, music teacher Bonnie Graham. She is cleaning up after a killing at her friend Liza's flat (Liza is a thousand miles away in South East Asia) which she had let her boyfriend use. A corpse lies in a puddle of blood on the floor. Did she do it? Is she protecting someone else? Eventually, Bonnie calls on her best friend Sonia to help her dispose of the body.

This all started because Bonnie felt unable to say no to her friend Danielle's request to put together a band to play at her approaching wedding. Bonnie had planned to spend the summer holiday renovating her dingy flat. Instead, she begs anyone she knows with a scrap of musical talent to help - her friend Sonia as singer; her ex-boyfriend Amos and university friend Neal on guitar; ex-student Joakim on violin and his dad Guy as drummer. When professional musician Hayden hears Bonnie talking about the band in a pub, he offers to help.

Practices go badly, with constant personality conflicts, but the show must go on. Hayden likes stirring up trouble. Neal is keen to have a relationship with Bonnie, but she and Hayden are soon involved, keeping it from the others. Tension escalates in the After as police find the body and readers (who have found Bonnie very likable) wonder how she can get past this. A shocking revelation makes her see events through a clearer lens and leads to a stunning conclusion.

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