“Now, as she stood there, her head spinning a little from the champagne she had drunk, she had the strangest feeling— almost as if she were surveying herself from a distance, marveling at the fact that she— Hannah Jones—had found herself surrounded by these exotic, clever, glamorous creatures.”
About the only fly in the ointment is that the guy who renders her weak at the knees, Will de Chastaigne, hooks up with April. None of them could ever have predicted that, less than a year later, April would be strangled to death. And Hannah would find her body.
Ten years on, Hannah and Will are expecting their first baby. Will is working crazy hours, trying to make full partner: they’re gong to need the income when Hannah has to give up her bookshop job. The nightmares and PTSD have finally decreased to manageable levels. Hannah has always felt guilty, both for surviving when April didn’t, and living the life April should have been living, with the husband she should have had, and now the baby she could have had.
Then, the news that the man convicted of April’s murder on Hannah’s evidence has died in prison. John Neville was absolutely resolute from the trial onward that he had nothing to do with her death and mounted several unsuccessful appeals. Will his death finally put an end to the media circus, the emails and calls that surround every appeal?
It seems that journalist Geraint Williams wants to look further into claims that the police and the court got it wrong, and his words have Hannah wondering, as do remarks made about the whole awful incident by others in that close group who re-establish contact: did she get it wrong? Did she put an innocent man into prison?
Hannah recalls that while brilliant, luminously beautiful April could be charming, beguiling and kind, she also had a malicious streak, revelling in cruel pranks, and what Hannah now learns from those friends has her guessing and second-guessing about who might have had motive and opportunity, other than John Neville.
Ware has crafted a dual-timeline mystery that is hard to put down: plenty of clues and red herrings and a brilliant twist to distract the reader in the lead-up to a nail-biting climax. It does lose half a star for a poorly-researched factual error that is integral to the resolution, but the Oxford scenes cannot fail to strike a chord with anyone who has lived in the residential college of a long-established university. A gripping thriller. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia.