Lead Review (Who She Was)

  • Book: Who She Was
  • Location: Cornwall
  • Author: Tony Parsons

Review Author: tripfiction



A powerful psychological thriller. A fascinating and beautiful young lady, saying her name is Clementine, turns up on a south Cornwall beach – waiting for an estate agent to give her the keys to her new cottage. She has appeared out of nowhere.The male population of the village is bowled over. As the story progresses we hear that at least four of them sleep with her… One of them is Tom who owns The Lobster Pot, a successful if unpretentious restaurant. He falls madly in love with Clementine and dreams of plans for their future. Then her estranged husband (accompanied by a somewhat psychotic heavy) appears on the scene. All the stories she has told about her past (and indeed the present) are contradicted. Who is telling the truth?

Events unfold. There are suspicious deaths and there are investigations. DCI Graves, a lady detective nearing retirement, is leading the case. She is very experienced and very worldly wise. But the case is very complicated. The village clams up and Clementine (or is it Tina as her husband calls her) is little help. Many in the village seem to be under her spell. She gets a job as front-of-house at Anton’s somewhat more expensive and exclusive restaurant on the north Cornish coast. There she wows the guests.

Things go a bit quiet, but DCI Graves is still probing away. She believes she has solved the mystery surrounding the deaths. But the denouement is dramatic and unexpected.

Cornwall comes through loud and clear in the book, although the South coast village in which it is set is fictional. You can sense the coastal paths with the sea pounding below, and the quieter peace of the many harbours.

A well written and intriguing story with a twist.

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