Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
This is a remarkable thriller. Ross Armstrong is an actor, both on the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on TV, where he has appeared in many well-known series such as Foyle’s War and DCI Banks. He’s also a poet. The Watcher is his first novel and undoubtedly it won’t be his last.
Lily Gullick is a bird watcher, but from her new-build London flat her binoculars find different targets: her neighbors, especially those in Canada House, the block of flats opposite her, whose habits continually intrigue her as she fantasies about their lives. Canada House is due to be demolished as other blocks nearby have been, bringing distress and despair to its inhabitants. Then Lily is drawn into their lives when an elderly woman is found dead. Lily knows she has information that could help track down the killer but what to do about it? The police aren’t interested in her story and Lily becomes the hunter as well as the watcher. But someone appears to be watching her….
This is a difficult narrative to summarize because at every twist and turn, it would be too easy to inadvertently give a spoiler; and it’s far too good a novel to risk that.
Lily relates this story herself in her own inimitable style. However I found it hard to get into the narrative initially, as interesting is the style of writing as it wasn’t clear where the tale was headed. But the reader must resist any temptation not to carry on, for this a very engaging work. I was drawn into Lily Gullick’s world and then became submerged into the topsy-turvy story that followed.
This is a psychological thriller with a big, big difference.