First published : 1996 Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, UK
The phone call comes on a Sunday, the day before homicide detective Kathy Kolla is to start her new job at New Scotland Yard, Serious Crimes Branch. But the grotesque murder that it heralds in a peaceful London suburb takes no account of the day of rest and promises a dramatic start to Kathy’s new life. In fact, dramatic is the word when her only – improbable – lead draws her to an amateur drama group. As Kathy investigates further she is lured into a piece of theatre over which, increasingly, she has little control. And as the show unfolds, a plot of brilliant complexity is revealed, escalating with gathering suspense to a climax in which Kathy’s own painfully hidden past plays a shocking role.
Maitland’s writing is suspenseful, gripping and frightening. His book is seductive, getting under the reader’s skin and staying there. This is a fine example of modern thriller writing. Highly recommended. (Eastern Daily Press, UK) Maitland is a masterful writer of crime fiction who, like Michael Dibdin, has a remarkable ability to juxtapose genres and create a book that will appeal to fans of both hard-boiled and clue-puzzle fiction. It’s a book about deception in marriages, suburban life and the theatre that works sublimely on all levels. (Sydney Morning Herald, Australia) A well-plotted, satisfying whodunit. (The Sunday Times, UK)