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Louise Doughty is an award-winning English novelist, a playwright, a journalist, and a bestselling author. She has written eight novels, a work of nonfiction, and five plays for radio. She was a former judge for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Doughty now lives in London where she currently reviews books for The Observer, The Guardian, and BBC Radio 4's Saturday Review.
An air of brooding and unpleasantness hangs over this British author's quirky third novel (after Dance with Me), an atmosphere that can't quite camouflage its wandering, insubstantial plot. When Thomas and Edith Cowper, an outwardly respectable couple residing in Rutland County, are murdered and their teenage daughter, Gemma, goes missing, local newspaper reporter Alison Akenside sees their story as the one she's been waiting her whole life to cover. Alison follows the investigation closely, from the moment the bodies are found with their multiple stab wounds through the search for the missing teen to the inquest ending the case. In the process, Doughty reveals a great deal about both Alison's and the Cowpers' dysfunctional families. The reporter's unbalanced mother, her vagabond brother and a second brother who died in infancy are contrasted with Gemma, who for all her cleverness fails to live up to her parents' high hopes. In the one parallel, the mind-numbing dullness of their lives drives a parent in each family mad. How the offspring respond to their respective heritages forms the core of the novel. Readers expecting they will find a cozy--as the book's publicity suggests--will be disappointed; those looking for a psychological suspense thriller will be better served. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Gripping." -- Chicago Sun-Times "This is cozy noir, original, unpredictable, and almost certain to please the reader in search of something different." -- The San Diego Union-Tribune "Spellbinding." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Superbly readable and beautifully put together." -- The Independent on Sunday