Soon to be a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen.
“A superb thriller and a truly engrossing read.”—Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10
When Roy meets a wealthy widow online, he can hardly believe his luck. Just like Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, Roy is a man who lives to deceive—and everything about Betty suggests she’s an easy mark. He’s confident that his scheme to swindle her will be a success. After all, he’s done this before.
Sure enough, Betty soon lets Roy move into her beautiful home, seemingly blind to the web of lies he’s woven around her. But who is Roy, really? Spanning almost a century, this stunning and suspenseful feat of storytelling interweaves the present with the past. As the clock turns back and the years fall away, long-hidden secrets are forced into the light. Some things can never be forgotten. Or forgiven.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
There is nothing we love more than a twisty con artist story. When aging grifter Roy—who has a long, complicated past—meets Betty, she seems the perfect target: a wealthy widow who’s trusting enough to let him move in. But wouldn’t you know, Betty has some secrets of her own. Nicholas Searle’s debut thriller is a charming pageturner filled with high stakes and witty, cutting repartee. The story line takes us backward in time from modern-day London to Germany in the 1930s, with each chapter revealing something new about Roy—and eventually about Betty as well. It’s impossible at first to see how all the pieces fit together, but like in any good grift, a big part of the fun comes in realizing that the clues have been right in front of our face all along.
At the start of British author Searle's engrossing debut, octogenarian Roy Courtnay is looking forward to his lunch with Betty McLeish, a wealthy widow he's met online. The apprehensive Betty has her grandson, Stephen, drive her to the appointed restaurant in an unspecified locale she and Roy have agreed on, where he waits outside in the car, prepared to rescue her if need be. Roy and Betty hit it off, and he soon moves into her cottage in the English countryside, where he sets about to bilk her of her fortune. Stephen has his doubts about Roy. Betty lingers in the background, mild-mannered and shrouded in mystery, until she finally takes center stage and her intentions become clear. Equal parts crime novel and character study, the tale is itself an elegantly structured long con. The pace is almost maddeningly deliberate, with details about the characters and their schemes doled out like a controlled substance, but patient readers will be rewarded with devastating third-act twists and a satisfying denouement.