Author – Nicci French
Published – 20 June 2013
Genre – Crime fiction
This is the third outing for psychotherapist Frieda Klein in a series that will total 8 titles. The series is shaping up well now and the simplest analogy I can draw is that it’s like a popular crime series on TV where there is a long story arc running through, but each episode has its own plot and resolution.
As Frieda is not currently working with the police (not too much about that or I will give away spoilers for “Tuesday“) the story is mainly split between an investigation Chief Inspector Karlsson is working on and Frieda’s domestic life. Karlsson is called to investigate the seemingly random murder of a woman in her own home. The initial interviews with family, friends and colleagues paint a picture of a perfect life – happily married, a devoted mother to three children, popular with everyone. It is Frieda who when pushed to share her thoughts with Karlsson suggests that everyone has secrets and finding what the victim was hiding will be the key. Finally the police investigation makes a breakthrough and they strip back more and more layers of this apparently idyllic family. Part of the fallout from this is the way that it affects the children and this is where Freida becomes involved, as her niece Chloe is friends with the victim’s son. But with less input from Frieda this plotline becomes a more straightforward detective story.
Events in the previous books are taking their toll on Frieda and a chance description of a domestic scene in a consultation sets her off on a mission to discover the root of the story. She herself would be the first to admit that she is unable to explain her motivation. Her friends become increasingly concerned that she is in the midst of a breakdown and even she can see how irrational her behaviour is, but she seems to be unable to stop herself. It’s good to see that Sandy is still there for her but he must be a saint because you can’t really see what Frieda gives to the relationship.
There are several other plotlines too – so the reader is kept on their toes.
I’m sure that there is enough background for someone to pick up “Wednesday” first but the on-going stories mean that the first two books are worth reading from the beginning. I think this would give a much better understanding of Frieda and her relationships to the other main characters.
I wish I could put my finger on what it is about Nicci French books that I like so much. Other than telling a good story with a female lead I think it comes down to their ability to describe scenes in detail that from other writers would be boring and unnecessary, but in their hands just makes the books more vivid and their skill at bringing the characters to life on the page. Freida especially is a character that is growing on me – she seemed hard to like at first but she showing a more vulnerable side now and despite her profession she is complex and full of contradictions.
Another great read from this writing duo – roll on Thursday!
Many thanks to Penguin for the review copy. You can see another review on the Crime Fiction Lover site.
Score – 4/5