Crime Scene - - POST MORTEM - BY SABINE DUR­RANT By Philip Kem p

Like her first two psy­cho­log­i­cal thrillers, Un­der Your Skin and Re­mem­ber Me This Way, Sabine Dur­rant’s Lie With Me has a first­per­son nar­ra­tor. This time, though, it’s a man – and a fairly dis­like­able spec­i­men at that. Paul Mor­ris, a once‑promis­ing nov­el­ist whose ca­reer is on the skids, is a ha­bit­ual liar and a sponger with an in­flated sense of his own su­pe­ri­or­ity. When he meets Alice, an at­trac­tive but vul­ner­a­ble woman, he talks his way into her bed – and then into an in­vi­ta­tion to her villa on a Greek is­land. Which is where the strands of a web of guilt start to twine them­selves in­sid­i­ously around him…

The writ­ing is taut and com­pelling, pulling us in. Dur­rant skil­fully estab­lishes char­ac­ter and at­mos­phere, im­per­cep­ti­bly build­ing up the ten­sion and qui­etly drop­ping in small de­tails and seem­ingly ran­dom events that only later re­veal their sig­nif­i­cance. Yet more cun­ningly, she suc­ceeds by the end – es­pe­cially af­ter the fi­nal chill­ing rev­e­la­tion – in mak­ing us feel sorry for Paul, no mat­ter that he’s the ar­chi­tect of his own down­fall, and even in mak­ing us iden­tify with him.

The sen­sa­tion of read­ing this sub­tly crafted novel is of slid­ing, slowly but in­ex­orably, into a dark, dank pit from which there’s no es­cape.

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