Author – Nicci French
Published – July 2012
Genre – Crime fiction
I wasn’t really won over by the first of the Nicci French ‘Frieda Klein’ series – Blue Monday. I didn’t quite take to the new character, or the prospect of 8 books featuring her, but I was still keen to read the second title, courtesy of Penguin Books.
I have to say that this might be quite a short review because I don’t want to give too much of the story away. The premise is that a naked corpse is found in the home of a woman with mental health problems who was recently released from hospital. With Chief Inspector Karlsson on the case, and the investigating team unable to get any sense from the woman, it was inevitable that he would approach Frieda Klein for help. Klein is dealing with her own problems, but is drawn to the case – wanting to make order out of the disorder.
The new mystery that Klein finds herself caught up in is intriguing and well told, with a good pace that doesn’t leave all the interest until the end of the book. There were one or two moments where I had to go back and read a section over a couple of times to follow the action – but I think that was my fault rather than the authors’! Klein still feels like a hard character to get to know – both for the other participants in the story as well as the reader, but she’s a little easier to understand and sympathise with in this second book. She also seems to be less of an insomniac, and there’s not so much walking the streets at night.
What surprised and pleased me was that although set around a year after Blue Monday there are threads from that story continued through this one. I’m not a fan of books which don’t reach a definitive conclusion, but if this continues it will make the series more interesting to follow.
Unusually I’m not sure if this would really stand on its own, I think there’s too much that depends on the reader being familiar with the story and characters in Blue Monday. It’s good for those of us who have read the first in the series because there’s not a huge amount of repetition, but for someone new to the series it might lack enough background.
This is a really good second book in the series and I half regret giving Blue Monday 4 out of 5, as this is a much better read. I’m looking forward to finding out what Wednesday brings!
It looks like Petrona agrees with me!
Score – 4/5