EXCERPT: ‘Look, here’s how I see it: we’ve been told that William couldn’t have done it, right? I don’t know if that’s a solid fact – you guys are the experts – but if it is? And we know we all didn’t do it, the rest of us, because we were together and could see each other the whole time. And no one could have got in from outside, which is another thing we’ve been told . . . You see what I’m saying? If everyone’s in the clear, then no one is.’ Jack spread his arms, like a . . . what was that insult Sondra threw at Sellers whenever he thought he was right about something and tried to argue the point? It sounded like demi-god. Demagogue, that was it. Jack McCallion sounded like a demagogue, as he said, ‘It’s so simple, it’s unreal. Normally when we say, “These three people, or these nine, or these twenty people can’t have done X,” it’s meaningful. Why? Because there are another twenty, or hundred, or thousand people who could have done it. Here, though, we have a case where there are how many people who might have done it, according to you guys? Zero! Zero viable suspects. Couldn’t have been an inside job, couldn’t have been an outside job. Well, that doesn’t work, does it? Because someone, as sure as eggs is eggs, murdered Jane Brinkwood.’
ABOUT ‘THE COUPLE AT THE TABLE’: You’re on your honeymoon at an exclusive couples-only resort.
You receive a note, warning you to ‘Beware of the couple at the table nearest to yours’. At dinner that night, five other couples are sitting close by, but none of their tables is any nearer or further away than any of the others. It’s almost as if someone has set the scene in order to make the warning note meaningless. Why would anyone do that?
You have no idea.
You also don’t know that you’re about to be murdered, or that once you’re dead, all the evidence will suggest that no one there that night could possibly have committed the crime.
So who might be trying to warn you? And who might be about to kill you, and seems certain to get away with it?
MY THOUGHTS: Lucy Dean describes her ex-husband William Gleave as ‘like a computer that’s only had a quarter of its software installed.’ Which made me smile. At times the description could equally well have fitted DC Simon Waterhouse, a man obsessed with a crime, a murder, that appears to have no solution.
The Couple at the Table is a locked room mystery that would have been solved a lot quicker had the astutely observant Miss Marple, or the ‘little grey cells’ of Monsieur Poirot been employed. It is exactly their kind of mystery.
There are plenty of suspects, but not many whom we get to know well. Lucy Dean is the main player. She is the ex-wife of William, whose new wife has been murdered. Not only did she and partner Pete attend William and Jane’s wedding, but they turn up at the resort where William and Jane are honeymooning. An uncomfortable situation? You’d think so. Do either couple leave? Where would be the fun in that?
All the couples at this small, exclusive resort have secrets, some major, some minor. All but one couple lie, but even they conceal things from each other. And some of them are better at lying than others.
The plot is ingenious, a little reminiscent of a famous Agatha Christie novel, but ingenious all the same. It is complex, and at times I am sure smoke billowed from my ears as the cogs in my little grey cells spun frantically as I tried to keep the characters, their movements and their possible motives straight. I did pick the killer reasonably early on, but wasn’t one hundred percent sure I was right until the big reveal, which was carried out in true Christie style with everyone gathered in the dining room.
As I said it is a complex murder mystery, and at times it became a little too convoluted and confusing. I resorted to drawing diagrams at one stage to straighten everything out in my head. But The Couple at the Table is wildly entertaining and a satisfying read.
I: @sophiehannahwriter @hodderbooks
T: @sophiehannahCB1 @HodderBooks
#contemporaryfiction #detectivefiction #domesticdrama #murdermystery #psychologicaldrama
THE AUTHOR: Sophie Hannah (born 1971) is a British poet and novelist. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge and between 1999 and 2001 a junior research fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge. (Wikipedia)
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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