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by Sabine Durrant
Mulholland, April 2013
320 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 1444762397

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

TV morning show presenter Gaby Mortimer seems to have it all. Good looks, a job she loves, minor celebrity status, a handsome investment banker husband and a beautiful and bright young daughter. Throw in a 5 million house in south London's desperately trendy Wandsworth with its underground gym, designer-styled garden and usual compliment of cleaner, au pair and a near-unused country cottage in Suffolk and life looks pretty good.

Her past an alcoholic, emotionally disturbed mother is firmly behind her. Her biggest worries are a fear her work-obsessed husband might be about to leave her, a less than satisfactory relationship with her show's co-host and a nagging doubt that her own looks may not survive much longer in the brittle and unforgiving world of TV 'celebrity'.

Then, on an early morning run in the local park, she finds the body of a woman and her world begins to fall apart. An obsessive detective finds her explanation of the discovery difficult to swallow and on a frankly unbelievably small amount of circumstantial evidence decides to treat her as the main suspect. Her TV colleagues, showing their usual loyalty, abandon her. The tabloid press, never wanting to miss out on a celebrity's troubles, hound her and neighbours display the required amount of shocked semi-detached embarrassment you would expect, while her near permanently absent husband is so engrossed is his own world of money he even fails to notice.

Gaby has her allies, though: a down to earth Australian former au pair, a surprisingly sensitive freelance reporter and an ambitious compatriot of the murdered Polish woman. Together they begin to deconstruct the police case and their investigations lead to a shock conclusion, which unfortunately was telegraphed a long, long way out, heavily camouflaged by branded descriptions of clothing and some woeful interpretations of police procedure. Despite that, the book is clever and beautifully written, unsurprising, as Sabine Durrant is a former literary editor of the Sunday Times and assistant editor of The Guardian.

John Cleal is a former soldier and journalist with an interest in medieval history. He divides his time between France and England.

Reviewed by John Cleal, February 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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