Set against the backdrop of the London art scene, The Dead Lie Down: A Novel, by Sophie Hannah, almost immediately grips the reader with a spellbinding mystery enmeshed in a web of secrets, lies, and twisted motivations.
It all begins when an art framer named Aidan Seed confesses to his girlfriend Ruth Bussey that he killed a woman several years ago. A woman named Mary Trelease. The only problem with his story, other than the fact of the murder itself, is that Ruth knows a Mary Trelease—an artist she met a few months ago—and she is very much alive.
Enter Sergeant Charlene “Charlie” Zailer and DC Simon Waterhouse, a very quirky couple who also happen to have their own issues and secrets and the stage is set for a very absorbing tale indeed.
Suffice it to say that the meandering pathways that finally lead to the resolution of this case will be confusing at best and convoluted at worst. Add to the mix a couple of superior officers who are seemingly determined to thwart Zailer and Waterhouse at every turn, and you have a case that almost doesn’t seem solvable.
Having read other books by this author, I was prepared for the inevitable thrill ride, and I wasn’t disappointed. The characters, from Zailer, Waterhouse, and their crew to the artists were all wonderfully fleshed out with flaws and quirks that set them apart and made them memorable. Then the plot was so twisted at times that I couldn’t even begin to figure it out until the final moments.
The unexpected turn of events had me reeling for a bit, which added to my enjoyment and led me to award this story five stars.