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Thursday 23 October 2014

‘Sandrine’ by Thomas H Cook

Published by Head of Zeus,
9 August 2013.
ISBN: 9781781855133

Thomas H Cook is new to me, but since reading Sandrine I have read two more of his novels and am devouring a third.  It's long time since I read such literate, perfectly-pitched prose, perhaps not since Donna Tartt's The Secret History.  The narrator is Professor Sam Madison, not a likable man, who looks down on and disassociates himself from everyone around him.  He is married to the beautiful, talented, enigmatic Sandrine, also a professor at the same university where he teaches.

Coming home one evening, he finds his wife dead in bed, the victim of an apparent suicide.  But the police are not so sure, and Sam finds himself in court, on trial for murder.  This is a courtroom drama with a difference: over the course of nine days we learn just about everything there is to know about Sandrine and Sam, from the early days of their courtship to the present day.  Gradually, Sam begins to suspect that Sandrine has rigged her own suicide to look like murder – by himself.  Has she?  And if so, why? 

Did he, didn't he?  Did she, didn't she?  Cook keeps us on tenterhooks until the very end of the book.  I thoroughly recommend this book … and his others. 
Reviewer: Susan Moody

Thomas H Cook  is the author of eighteen books, including two works of true crime. His novels have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Macavity Award and the Dashiell Hammett Prize. The Chatham School Affair won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel in 1996. His true crime book, Blood Echoes, was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1992, and his story "Fatherhood" won the Herodotus Prize in 1998 and was included in Best Mystery Stories of 1998. His works have been translated into fifteen languages.

Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume  of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France, Australia, the USA and Denmark.  In addition to her many stand alone books, Susan has written two series, on featuring PI Penny Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan.

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