Day 191: The Wrong Mother

Cover for The Wrong MotherAgain, Sophie Hannah uses the technique of multiple narrations in the enthralling mystery/thriller The Wrong Mother, featuring Simon Waterhouse.

Sally Thorning is married with two children, and although she is happy, she feels worn out with working and child rearing. When a business trip is cancelled, she lies to her husband so that she can take some time at a spa. There she meets a man named Mark Bretherick and has a brief affair.

A year later she is out shopping when someone pushes her into traffic. When she arrives home, she sees a news report about a woman who apparently killed herself and her child. The woman’s husband is supposed to be Mark Bretherick, but the man on the television is not the man Sally met at the hotel. She does not want to go to the police because she doesn’t want her husband to find out about her fling.

In the meantime, police constable Simon Waterhouse thinks there is something wrong with the diary found for Geraldine Bretherick, in which she writes about how much she hates being a mother.

Although Hannah seems to have a very dark idea of human behavior if you look at the totality of her work, I always enjoy her twisty plots and her grasp of psychological manipulation. Her two recurring characters, Simon and Charlie, are also almost completely disfunctional in their abortive romance and occasionally behave very oddly as police officers. Still, if you like dark mysteries, her books are fun to read.

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