The Lying Room by Nicci French
eBook review copy; 432 pages
The Lying Room by Nicci French is a highly recommended murder mystery.
Neve Connolly has a secret: she has been having an affair with her new boss, Saul Stevenson. She had just spent the evening before with him, so when
she receives a text early the next morning asking her to come to his
apartment, naturally she secretly makes it part of her morning plans.
While she knows her affair is wrong, it is an escape from the pressures
at home. When she arrives at his apartment, Neve finds Saul has been
brutally murdered. Just before calling the police, she pauses and
debates what her involvement in the murder investigation will do to her
family. Neve decides to clean up the apartment, removing all traces of
her from it and their affair, and do nothing, knowing there is a killer
on the loose.
When the murder is discovered,
Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching visits the work place and
talks to everyone there, including Neve. Now the lying game starts.
Hitching is clever and Neve needs to stay one step ahead of him, but the
investigation and all the interpersonal complications is becoming
complicated and involved. Each new lie and revelation causes more
complications for Neve.
Neve is a well-developed character, although, for me at least, she
started out not very sympathetic after the narrative starts out with her
married lover murdered and her covering it up. From that point on the
treatment of her as a trusted friend and confidant for many people, as
well as a caring mother and wife, took some time to believe. Hitching
keeps coming around to question Neve as the web of lies grows and
expands, and the melodrama increases with each new chapter.
The action is well paced and descriptive. The writing is good, but
seemed to improve as the novel progressed and the complications ensued. I
did find it a struggle to keep my interest in the plot at the
beginning. Once the narrative reaches the point where more secrets are
exposed and the investigation is continuing to include questioning Neve, my involvement and interest in the story line increased. It culminates at the point when Neve begins to feel that she actually can't trust anyone.
By the way, there are clues left along the way for astute readers to
pick up and heighten interest in the identity of the killer. The denouement is satisfying, but also seems a bit of a stretch.
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.