Named a New York Times Best Book to Give!
“This house of correction is booby-trapped with twists, the floors paved with trapdoors, quicksand churning in the garden. Enter if you dare.” –A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“Full of unexpected turns . . . Immensely satisfying.” – The New York Times Book Review
In this heart-pounding standalone thriller from bestselling author Nicci French, a woman accused of murder attempts to solve her own case from the confines of prison—but as she unravels the truth, everything is called into question, including her own certainty that she is innocent.
Tabitha is not a murderer.
When a body is discovered in Okeham, England, Tabitha is shocked to find herself being placed in handcuffs. It must be a mistake. She’d only recently moved back to her childhood hometown, not even getting a chance to reacquaint herself with the neighbors. How could she possibly be a murder suspect?
She knows she’s not.
As Tabitha is shepherded through the system, her entire life is picked apart and scrutinized —her history of depression and medications, her decision to move back to a town she supposedly hated . . . and of course, her past relationship with the victim, her former teacher. But most unsettling, Tabitha’s own memories of that day are a complete blur.
She thinks she’s not.
From the isolation of the correctional facility, Tabitha dissects every piece of evidence, every testimony she can get her hands on, matching them against her own recollections. But as dark, long-buried memories from her childhood come to light, Tabatha begins to question if she knows what kind of person she is after all. The world is convinced she’s a killer. Tabatha needs to prove them all wrong.
But what if she’s only lying to herself?
Accused murderer Tabitha Hardy, the protagonist of this ambitious standalone from the pseudonymous French (the Frieda Klein series), starts with two strikes against her. First, the London copy editor impulsively fires her court-appointed counsel and demands to represent herself against the charge that within weeks of moving home to remote Okeham, England, she fatally stabbed neighbor Stuart Rees, her secondary school math teacher, who abused her when she was 15. Second, though Tabitha believes herself incapable of killing anybody, she can't remember much of the fateful day. And so the stage is set for a suspenseful battle of wits and wills, as the vulnerable loner takes on the Crown Prosecutor and her own often self-defeating psychology. Though Tabitha's depressive personality palls over the course of 500 pages, one can't help rooting for her. French, the British husband-and-wife writing team of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, seamlessly shifts from prison drama to procedural to legal thriller and finally to an ingenious twist on the locked-room mystery. French continues to impress.