BLURB: “One hot summer in 1922. A house at the heart of the village. A crime that will shock the community. A man accused and two women with everything to lose.
When Donny Cartwright is accused of murder, his sister Pudding is determined to discover the identity of the real killer. Together with newcomer, Irene, she begins to uncover the truth – a secret that has been buried for years. But when they happen upon a strange object, hidden in the past, they realise it will change everything…”
REVIEW: I am about to reiterate for the millionth time that Katherine Webb is one of my all-time favourite authors; this time, however, I am going to add that ‘The Hiding Places’ may well be my favourite book of hers so far. Gripping and beautifully written, with a huge twist that I didn’t see coming at all (very shortly followed by a second shocking twist), this book is absolute genius, and I finished it feeling both overwhelmed by the story and disappointed that it was over.
This novel tells the story of what happens to the small town of Slaughterford when a local businessman, recently married and liked by everyone, is brutally murdered. The story is written in third person but focused through the perspectives of three women; Pudding, the sister of the boy arrested for the murder; Irene, the victim’s new bride; and Clemmie, a mute village girl embarking on a secret love affair. Pudding’s brother, Donny, damaged by his experiences in the First World War and now needing almost constant care, is an easy target to pin the crime on, and as he was at the scene of the murder, it seems that little can be done to rescue him. As Pudding’s search for the real killer, and evidence that will save her brother from hanging, heightens, she enlists the help of the victim’s wife, Irene. Although initially uncertain, Irene soon comes to believe in Donny’s innocence, and, combined with the strange feelings she has been getting ever since she moved to the rural town with her husband, begins to sense that something more sinister is behind the murder. As the two work together to unveil the mystery surrounding Alistair’s death, and a similar murder that occurred precisely fifty years earlier, new evidence comes to light that makes for a twist that both alarms and confuses the reader initially, but is soon revealed to be simply a brilliantly complex plot twist from the author.
As usual, Webb’s writing was wonderfully emotive and descriptive, and the novel hooked me in from the beginning. I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommend it.