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  • Writer's picturePaul Burston

Dirty Little Secrets

Reviewed by Paul Burston 

If you enjoyed Jo Spain’s previous book The Confession (and I did), then you’ll certainly enjoy this new standalone thriller. The plot revolves around six neighbours living in an exclusive gated community called - wait for it! - Withered Vale. They’re a mixed bunch, each with their own secrets and idiosyncratic ways. 

Withered Vale appears to have it all - beautiful homes, manicured lawns. But with a name like that there’s bound to be a fly in the ointment. Or in this case, rather a lot of flies. The body of Olive Collins has been rotting inside number four for three months. 

Investigated by the tantalisingly-named Frank Brazil and his plain-speaking partner Emma, suspicion for the murder falls on each of the Vale’s residents, all of whom have a history with the often difficult dead woman.

The story is partly told by Olive herself, from beyond the grave. The other characters are cross examined in the third person. As secrets are revealed, it becomes clear that Olive made a lot of enemies, all of whom stand to benefit from her death. 

This is a hugely enjoyable page turner. Think Agatha Christie meets Desperate Housewives and you won’t be far wrong.  

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