I’m a big Sophie Hannah fan. I’ve read lots of her Simon Waterhouse novels and always really enjoy reading them. They always have a twist or two to make you think and The Telling Error was no exception!
Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It’s definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape. Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road. Nicki can’t answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in a way that involved no spilling of blood, or why ‘HE IS NO LESS DEAD’ was painted across Blundy’s study. And she can’t explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life. Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent . . .
As usual, I’ll try not to give too much away in this review. Psychological thrillers like this are usually, in my opinion, best read with as little existing knowledge as possible.
The storyline was typical of Sophie Hannah; mysterious, tense and absorbing. I felt like some parts of the story were a little slower with more dialogue than usual, but I still felt myself really get into the narrative. I had no idea who the killer (of whom there is a glimpse right at the start) was throughout the novel and really enjoyed the reveal at the end. It was quite uncomfortable readings at times due to the subject matter- I often disagreed with Nikki’s actions- but it made the plot all the more interesting and a little different too. Sophie Hannah’s books are always so well put together – you can feel yourself being led around the different characters and ‘clues’ but they’re always just a little out of reach- at least to me anyway!
I have to say, in terms of non-Police characters there really weren’t many that I identified with or warmed to. The main character Nikki was self absorbed, annoying and generally seemed like a pretty cruel and selfish person, and the other characters were all as bad in their own ways. Nikki’s husband seemed like the only truly nice person there and his dedication to Nikki only made her seem more horrible. I won’t give anything else away but you can tell the kind of character Nikki is from the beginning really. However the characters were as complex and realistic as always- you do know there are people like that out there, even if you don’t particularly like them!
The usual characters were on top form as always; Simon was his usual straight talking and direct self and Charlie’s unique relationship with Simon and their interactions still amuses me, as do the other detectives that make up the regular cast.
This wasn’t, in my opinion, my favourite of her brilliant Simon Waterhouse novels (as the standard is so high) but it was certainly another enjoyable, intriguing read from one of my favourite authors, and it did not disappoint!
Rating: 4/5 Have you read this novel or any other of Sophie Hannah’s books? What did you think?