On a damp July morning in 1946, two schoolboys find a woman’s body in a bomb site in north London. The woman is identified as Lillian Frobisher, a wife and mother who lived in a war-damaged terrace a few streets away. The police assume that Lil must have been the victim of a vicious sexual assault; but the autopsy finds no evidence of rape, and Divisional Detective Inspector Jim Cooper turns his attention to her private life. How did Lil come to be in the bomb site – a well-known lovers’ haunt? If she had consensual sex, why was she strangled? Why was her husband seemingly unaware that she had failed to come home on the night she was killed?
In this gripping murder story, Siân Busby gradually peels away the veneer of stoicism and respectability to reveal the dark truths at the heart of postwar austerity Britain. Siân Busby was an award-winning writer, broadcaster and film maker. She published four books, including The Cruel Mother, a memoir of her great-grandmother which won the MIND Book Award in 2004; and a novel, McNaughten, which was published to critical acclaim in 2009. She was married to the BBC Business editor, Robert Peston, and had two sons. She died in September 2012 after a long illness and will be much missed.
©2013 Siân Busby (P)2014 Audible Studios
"A gripping murder story in which the veneer of stoicism and respectability is gradually peeled away to reveal the dark truths at the heart of postwar British society..." (Lucy Cavendish)
"A writer with a rare and singular dedication to authenticity...the atmosphere Busby evokes is as melancholic as Graham Greene The End of the Affair." (Valerie Grove, The Times)
"Siân Busby's final novel is a classic whodunit at its very best." (The Express)
"Elegant, spell-binding and unbearably sad...This deeply heartfelt crime novel brings a tear to the eye, for it shows what a fine novelist we have lost." (Daily Mail)
"A writer of rare subtlety." (Mail on Sunday)
"The dinginess of London in 1946 is brilliantly evoked...in this distinctive and engaging novel." (The Sunday Times)
"Illuminating...A Commonplace Killing by Sian Busby is rich in detail and peopled with beautifully drawn characters." (The Telegraph)
"A cracking book." (Lorraine Kelly)
"Extraordinarily atmospheric...a superbly accomplished and gripping piece of postwar noir" (The Times
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"Obvious and boring"
This story didn't go anywhere. There was no 'thrill' in finding out who did what. Also I found the several nasty anti-Semitic comments totally offputting - I barely bothered finishing it.
"An absolute must!"
This book is beyond excellent it is a true work of literature. The bombed out landscape and the wave of crime hitting ordinary Londoners who are trying to survive as best they can on rations serve as a metaphor for mental desolation and despair. The author explores three points of view, the killer, the victim and the detective - they are all fighting inner demons and trying to work out what the point of existence really is. The prevailing cynicism is offset by the young female police officer who is looking to the future and presages a better life to come - perhaps. This is a book which really makes you think and question certainties; it is a relatively short in length but very wide in the intellectual challenge it will give you. The narrator is splendid and his voice is perfect for this tale, I cannot praise him enough. Daniel Weyman makes an extremely moving tribute to Sian Busby at the end of the book which will no doubt give you an added insight into the content of the book.
The title of this book tells it all. It isn't a modern detective story full of twists and turns. It is a beautifully crafted novel set in the 2nd world war. The description of the times and the people are well described. Well worth listening too!
"Average book well read"
More rounding of characters
Telling the story in the two timelines
I think the writer showed great promise and it is a real shame her life was cut short.
I wouldn't read another Sian Busby book but Daniel Weyman was a good narrator.
I liked that the story was told from each character's perspective. I found the flashbacks slightly irritating.
This was a good detective story, spoiled for me by a really negative world view. I found I didn't really like the main characters. It was depressing to listen to.
"A must listen!!!"
I felt for lil - her life - what drove her to make the choices she did that ultimately led to her untimely death - a little bit of be careful what you wish for in the undertone to her life - she sadly had the ultimate escape from the life she dreamed of leaving
A beautifully read book - very balanced not harsh - the characters were believable - I wanted to listen on - so many good listens can be spoiled by a bad performance this was brilliant
The end of the book was a very moving epilogue by the authors husband it moved me to tears but also gave an insight into the background of the book and author - I would love to read more of her work - a life that was sadly cut short but lived to the full
In engaged me I was sad when it ended and looked immediately for the authors earlier books.
A must listen - the best I ve listened to in a long time
"A great read, better than I imagined"
I really enjoyed that I could listen to this book whilst doing other things. Great story and narrator, if I didn't have audible, I just wouldn;t have the time to get through and finish books and this is just such easy listening.
So believable and easy to listen to
There were so many it was hard to tell
trust your instincts
go ahead and enjoy
"Should have been better than it is."
Most of this book is very good. The depiction of post-war London is excellent and the use of different viewpoints to tell the story makes it build to the climax in a subtle and interesting way. Unfortunately the climax doesn't really arrive. Sian Busby's husband's assertion that she finished the book before she died isn't really correct. The end of the story is there, but it is very obviously unfinished.
The narrator does a great job. I will certainly be looking for more of his work.
"Captivating and compelling.."
I recommend this book as being one of the best of it's genre ... it is written with a real feel for time and place. The post war poverty and the threadbare existence of post blitz Londoners is brilliantly captured. This is noire but British through and through. An impressive work that is narrated with a depth of emotion that will take you through the darkened streets of the capital.
The book abounds with clever detail. The discovery of the body on the bomb site stands out. Utterly believable. Utterly cruel.
The delivery is measured and at times weary which reflects the ambiance of the story and the setting so well.
From a loveless life to a lonely death..
This was very evocative and atmospheric and was well read. I particularly liked the approach of switching perspectives between the diffferent characters.
"Definitely not a commonplace story"
Set in London in the immediate post war period, this well written book catches the drabness, hardship and, even, despair of a country desperately trying to return to life as the wartime deprecation continues despite the supposed victory. It draws the reader into the humdrum, empty lives of the main protagonists and slowly reveals the story of the sad futility behind both life and death. It also illustrates vividly how much has changed at least materially over the past 70 years.
Read beautifully and with sensitivity, by Daniel Weyman, I would recommend this book to all with an interest in recent social history as well as all lovers of a well crafted detective story where forensic science was still in it's infancy and the policing was more focused on routine and everyday contacts.
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