Review published on April 9, 2017.
Katherine Webb? You little rascal! I never saw that coming! You had me totally hoodwinked. But once I knew, well, it was almost obvious. But so, so clever. The Hiding Places? The book itself is almost a hiding place for the fiction that unfolds. From that reaction you might deduce that this is the first book of Katherine Webb’s I have read so far and you’re be correct. My cursory research reveals that these kind of endings are a feature of Ms. Webb’s work. And this book and that research will surely lead me to seek out the rest of her books.
What a glorious denouement! And for me it totally elevated this intriguing novel. A prologue that appeared to set the scene concerning a murder. Being seduced into an historical tale of a sleepy little Cotswold village with almost stereotypical descriptions of rural village life. Full of characters you’d expect to find. And the ubiquitous outsider who enters the village with hints of a dubious set of circumstances. And so the scene is set. But no more mention of murder. So much so that you begin to think you dreamed the prologue. Village life endures and although you know from the book’s blurb that there must be a murder you still get a shock when it happens.
And if that hasn’t whetted your appetite, what will? A well written book with a prose style that flows convincingly, economically, easily. A set of characters in harmony with their surroundings if not themselves. And a plot that conjures and weaves its spell drawing you into the tangle of events that seem to have no hope of a solution and then the wonderful twist at the end.
The sort of book that reading was invented for! No hiding places for this book!! Read it!!
Gill Chedgey 5/4
The Hiding Places by Katherine Webb
Orion 9781409148562 hbk May 2017
SECOND OPINION: The English Agent by Clare Harvey