Now 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.
As this remarkable feat of storytelling weaves together Roy’s and Betty’s futures, it also unwinds the past. Dancing across more than half a century—decades that encompass unthinkable cruelty, extraordinary resilience, and remarkable kindness—it takes us right back to the beginning of their very different lives, following the twists and turns through childhood, an adolescence and young adulthood indelibly marked by war, and an adult existence carved out amid a world still reeling from its aftermath.
As Roy’s sins stack up against the burdens Betty carries, it becomes a story of salvation, and survival—and for Roy and Betty, there is a reckoning to be made when the endgame of Roy’s crooked plot plays out. 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.
What I thought would be an amusing story of two people trying to swindle one another became instead a fully fleshed novel with depth. And oh so satisfying.
Liked the movie better. The book offers more details than needed for the story to be interesting
A bit dry and overly long in some of the back details, but overall an enjoyable read! The reveal at the end was delicious and the novel had a really good conclusion!
The inter connectivity took me for a surprise until the author was ready to reveal it and I applaud his writing.