The Telling Error is the ninth in the Culver Valley series which features the extremely clever but somewhat odd Simon Waterhouse and his wife Charlie who solve the fiendishly complex psychology to explain an equally intricately planned crime.
The book starts with a post on Intimate Connections website with a post entitled “Looking For A Secret”, the post then goes onto describe a murder-scene and appealing to the murderer who the author is certain is female. Who would post the question and would anyone be compelled to answer? This opening had me hooked, which is not unusual for one of Sophie Hannah’s books and I was like a fish on the end of the line until the last page.
In The Telling Error a well-known controversial columnist Damon Blundy is found dead in mysterious circumstances and the police trail leads back to Nicki Clements. Nicky to be fair, doesn’t help matters by taking a detour to avoid a policeman she recognises, although as a reader you may have little sympathy when you read about her cyber secrets. Nicky is a misguided woman who seems to have a bit of a wimp of a husband who has turned to the internet for a bit of excitement which unsurprisingly threatens to blow her world apart. Nicky also reveals a worrying past where it appears she longs to be loved for who she is, but tellingly has been wary of revealing the truth to any of the normal candidates including her best-friend or her husband.
One of the things the author does really well is an intricate plot (sometimes far too intricate) giving a sense of satisfaction as the pieces slot into place revealing some fairly outrageous motives, in this book, just on the right side of believable. On another level this book examines the recent phenomenon of cyber relationships, long-kept secrets and sibling relationships. Even while describing unusual characters the author handles this with a surety which gives quite an insight into human behaviour while simultaneously entertaining the reader with a complex puzzle.
Although the Police are constant throughout the series their own stories don’t over shadow the main action which means that anyone of these books can be picked up and enjoyed as a stand-alone read.
I was delighted to find that this was one Sophie Hannah’s better novels. I have read them all and enjoyed the majority, although I struggled with her last book so this one was approached with a caution which was completely unfounded.
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book from the publishers Hodder & Stoughton ahead of publication on 24 April 2014.
Culver Valley Series
1. Little Face
2. Hurting Distance
3. The Point of Rescue
4. The Other Half Lives
5. A Room Swept White
6. Lasting Damage
7. A Kind of Cruel
8. The Carrier