A mystery novel masterfully told that begins with a diary by a crime writer whose son has recently been killed in a hit and run accident. Using the same tools that pepper his novels, he is able to track down the killer, although he can’t prove it. Instead, he inserts himself into the life of the suspected killer where he learns about his imperious demeanor, his controlling mother, a wife who feels abandoned, and a son he points all his abuse toward. Our narrator finds himself connected to this son, being reminded of his own recent loss. He concocts a plan to murder the man, making it look like an accident.
I won’t say any more about the plot because I think all the plotting, the twists and turns, and the mystery should remain in tact in part because they’re very satisfying and also because a BBC miniseries is coming out this summer, and people will likely be reading this one again. Needless to say I really enjoyed this one.
I haven’t read any of the other Nigel Strangeways novels, so I didn’t realize at first that our initial protagonist is limited to just this one book. I was really into the opening section though. The writing is very good throughout (the writer being the pseudonym of a lauded poet is no surprise then [Nicholas Blake is the pen name of Cecil Day-Lewis, yes, THAT Day-Lewis), and the plotting is very satisfying. The result is similar to something like a between the wars, Wilkie Collins.