Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent


Penguin (UK)

Description: An absorbing, twisty, brilliantly observed story of murder in high places. The last people who expect to be meeting with a drug-addicted prostitute are a respected judge and his reclusive wife. And they certainly don’t plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden. Yet Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons find themselves in this unfortunate situation. While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son Laurence and their social standing, her husband begins to falls apart. But Laurence is not as naïve as Lydia thinks. And his obsession with the dead girl’s family may be the undoing of his own.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
 They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
 And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
 By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
 And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
 It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
 And don't have any kids yourself.
--Philip Larkin

Sited in and around Dublin, a setting I love so well, we kick off in 1980, and Lydia is protesting that her husband didn’t mean to kill ‘the lying tramp.’ What’s the betting I don’t get to sympathise with Lydia…

Andrew – feckless
Annie – the lying tramp
Karen – Annie’s sister
Laurence – Lydia and Andrew’s son.
Helen – Laurence’s girlfriend
Paddy Carey – con man

Initially, it wasn’t just Lydia that I couldn’t sympathise with, the writing style was ‘all tell no show’, with each character recounting their perception of events, arranged in first-person blocks of narrative, ultimately leaving the reader feeling a step removed.

However, by part II, 1985, the author had defrosted, the deviously twisted plot escaped, and with mummy’s boy Laurence stepping in as main character, this here reader started enjoying what was on offer.

By the time I reached

I think I love you too"

my fingers were splayed across my face at the trainwreck unfolding on the page.

Navy blue Jaguar Sedan 1960.

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