review by Maryom
A gas explosion in one of a pair of cottages leads the police to a murder scene in the other. Downstairs they find the body of Dawn Prentice, stabbed in a seemingly frenzied attack; upstairs is her disabled teenage daughter, Holly, who has been left to slowly starve. DS Ferreira of Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit had met the family before when Dawn and Holly had been the targets of harassment, now she begins to wonder if she'd taken their complaints seriously enough.... But as Ferreira and DI Zigic question neighbours, friends, and Dawn's casual boyfriends, it turns out there's quite a list of folk with private reasons for wishing her dead...
I've jumped in here at the third of this series but the case is a 'stand-alone' and the personal backgrounds of Ferreira and Zigic are easily picked up on.
With its village setting and multitude of suspects, After You Die sounds rather like a classic Agatha Christie but the issues lying behind the whodunnit mystery are contemporary and thought-provoking - the physical and emotional difficulties of coping with a disabled child, the right of someone to decide when and how to die, online harassment, and the protection offered to children taken in to foster care. None of these overwhelms the story-line which twists and turns as the police chase red herrings, get stuck in dead ends, blocked by other police officials, but ultimately find their killer. it doesn't have the tension or thriller aspect of many crime novels - for example, there's no trail of increasingly desperate murders as the killer tries to hide their tracks - but it's still a very compelling read.
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Harvill Secker
Genre - adult, crime,