The Secret

Written by Deric Henderson

Review written by John Parker

John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.


The Secret
Penguin Random House
RRP: £7.99
Released: April 28 2016
PBK

First published in 2011 under the title “Let This Be Our Secret”, this edition coincides with the ITV drama adaptation starring James Nesbitt and Genevieve O’Reilly.

The two actors play the roles of Sunday school teacher Hazel Buchanan and dentist Colin Howell, the central characters of one of the most sensational murder cases ever seen in the UK. It tells how Howell, an egoistic, controlling yet, at times, charming man marries a bright, first-class nurse called Lesley Clarke. Later, into the picture comes Hazel Buchanan with whom Howell eventually starts an affair. Hazel is married to a local policeman in Coleraine, Trevor Buchanan. This leads to the horrendous murder of both Trevor and Hazel which is made to look like a double suicide.

The book is very well-researched as we learn everything about the main protagonists from the very beginning. We are given potted biographies of all the important players in this story. Henderson has a very clear, disciplined writing style. Everything is mapped out clearly. He has obviously done his homework. We cannot help but sympathise with the victims and their families.

 For lovers of true crime, this book has a bit of everything – a double murder, adultery, extra-marital sex, pornography, hypocrisy and religion. It is a fascinating insight into the minds and motivations of two very ordinary people who almost get away with murder; like characters trapped in a Ruth Rendell novel.   

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