#BookReview - Soot by Andrew Martin

York, 1799.

In August, an artist is found murdered in his home - stabbed with a pair of scissors. Matthew Harvey's death is much discussed in the city. The scissors are among the tools of his trade - for Harvey is a renowned cutter and painter of shades, or silhouettes, the latest fashion in portraiture. It soon becomes clear that the murderer must be one of the artist's last sitters, and the people depicted in the final six shades made by him become the key suspects. But who are they? And where are they to be found?

Later, in November, a clever but impoverished young gentleman called Fletcher Rigge languishes in the debtor's prison, until a letter arrives containing a bizarre proposition from the son of the murdered man. Rigge is to be released for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, he will be incarcerated again, possibly for life.

And so, with everything at stake, and equipped only with copies of the distinctive silhouettes, Fletcher Rigge be…

Book Review - Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon by Linda Newbery



This is a difficult review to write, not because I didn't enjoy it, quite the opposite in fact, but it's a story that's teeming with secrets and I'm mindful to give nothing away.
The basic premise is that Anna's then teenage sister, Rose disappeared twenty years ago. No body was every found and the family have no idea whether she chose to leave or was taken and whether she is still alive. Twenty years of not knowing takes its toll on the family, Anna struggles to commit to her relationship with Martin, even forming a friendship with his ex-wife Ruth. Meanwhile her parents, Sandy and Don finally decide to sell their family home with all its memories but with so much unsaid between them can they go through with it?
The story cleverly switches between the present, the past before Rose's disappearance and even further back to when Sandy was a teenager. Gradually secrets are laid bare as the readers and the family learn of the decisions made by them and by others that eventually affected them all.
Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon is a compelling, often achingly sad novel. It's a well structured family drama with unexpected twists and believable, sympathetic characters. This is Linda Newbery's first adult novel, I very much hope to read further books from her in the future, in the mean time I recommend you read this one.
My thanks to the author and publishers for my copy received through NetGalley in return for my honest review.

Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon is published in the UK by Doubleday.

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