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Death of a Murderer


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For fans of Ian McEwan's Atonement

About the Author

Rupert Thomson is the author of seven previous novels. His books have been shortlisted for awards including the Writer's Guild Fiction Prize for Air and Fire and the Guardian Prize for Fiction. He lives in Barcelona.


In Thomson's latest, set in Britain in 2002, a policeman's all-night guard duty becomes an occasion for soul-searching. While spending a long night in a hospital morgue guarding the body of a notorious female serial killer, Officer Billy Tyler is visited by memories and ghosts as he contemplates the disappointed dreams of his marriage, the challenges of raising a daughter with Down syndrome, and old lovers and friends the situation calls to mind. He struggles to come to terms with the memory of childhood friend Trevor, who claims to have been abducted by the woman Billy is now guarding, as well as his complex and unresolved feelings toward school friend Raymond Percival, with whom he took a notable trip to the Continent. Visited by the ghost of the old murderer, he is brought face to face with his own capability for evil as he reflects on his dealings with the abusive father of former lover Venetia. Thomson (Divided Kingdom) has crafted a deeply introspective work that memorably probes dark questions of love, guilt, and self. Recommended for public libraries.-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Praise for DIVIDED KINGDOM Thomson is probably the best writer of my generation ... wonderful and full of wonders ... a uniquely disturbing tale for our time.' Amanda Craig, Literary Review 'The ideas behind Thomson's novel buzz with originality ... a moving and gripping book.' Observer 'A book of real depth and superb storytelling ... it has 'future classic' written all over it.' Mail on Sunday 'Relentlessly compelling and enormously impressive ... strange, evocative and sensuous.' Daily Telegraph

Thomson (The Insult) takes the death of real-life British serial sex murderer Myra Hindley, who died of natural causes in prison years after her crimes, as the starting point for his riveting eighth novel. Billy Tyler, an underachieving, unambitious policeman, gets the night shift guarding the killer's body, which lies in a hospital morgue before cremation. During Billy's 12-hour vigil, he reflects on his troubles with his wife, Sue; their Down syndrome child, Emma; lost love, friendship and death. In several perfectly drawn scenes, the ghost of "Britain's most hated woman" (Hindley is never named) appears, drawing Billy into discussions that leave him troubled and confused about the nature of evil and the possibility that it exists within us all. The writing is quietly brilliant: "The night smelt musty, thrilling. Cow parsley, fox fur. The breath of owls." At one point Billy thinks to himself, "Certain stories lodge like rusty hooks in the soft flesh of the mind. You cannot free yourself." Readers will agree; this fine novel is one of those unforgettable stories. Author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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