The Kindest Thing

Cath Staincliffe

Constable, pbk £7.99

Released: 27th May 2010

Reviewer: Judith Cutler

Readers have always been able to rely on Cath Staincliffe and her Sal Kilkenny series for a good read. But The Kindest Thing takes her (and us) out of her comfort zone, and into something bravely new: whydunnit, not a whodunit.

Deborah and Neil have been together for thirty years, and are still deeply in love when that most dreadful of diseases, Motor Neurone Disease, strikes Neil. When his life becomes intolerable – for him, but not the rest of the family – she kills him. Although it is the most merciful of murders, when the book is set it is still technically murder, with a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. In order to remain in the lives of her children, the drug damaged Adam and wary and hostile Sophie, Deborah will fight, hoping to be found guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

As well as being a crime novel, this is a love story in the widest sense: mutual respect, anger, resentment, fear – all the family’s emotions are delicately explored in a beautifully controlled narrative.

It won’t make cheerful plane or beach reading, but I urge you to buy this excellent book right now: the wonderful characters playing out the drama will stay with you for a long time.






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