The Other Half Lives

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 October, 2009, 12:00am

The Other Half Lives
by Sophie Hannah
Hodder, HK$100

True to her latest title, Sophie Hannah is a writer of two lives. Her first is as a poet: Pessimism for Beginners, her latest collection, was shortlisted for the prestigious T.S. Eliot Award. Her second, rather more profitable existence, is as a writer of thrillers: most recently, The Point of Rescue. Elegantly written, psychologically sophisticated and intricately plotted, these books have pushed Hannah to the forefront of British crime writing. The Other Half Lives will do nothing to drag her back, featuring as it does a humdinger of a concept. Aidan Seed and Ruth Bussey are sharing secrets: while the fragile Ruth can barely articulate hers, Aidan confesses he killed a woman named Mary Trelease. The only problem is that Mary, an artist, is very much alive. This first couple finds an echo in a second: Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse, the police detectives investigating the bizarre chain of events behind Aidan's claims, who have almost as many skeletons in their respective cupboards as the people they are investigating. If you want a smart, exciting, rather melancholic thriller that has more twists than an Olympic high diver, consider how The Other Half Lives.