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A Little Death [Paperback]

Laura Wilson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 2000
London, 1955. The bodies of three elderly recluses are found in a house in South Kensington. One of the victims is former society beauty Georgina Gresham, prime suspect in the notorious murder of her husband, James, almost thirty years earlier. Beside her lie the bodies of her brother Edmund and housekeeper Ada. The story behind these deaths takes us back to the late 1890s, to a prosperous and beautiful country house where children are playing in the garden. And then the youngest child, Freddie, is found with fatal head injuries ... Told through three narrators, this is a tight, claustrophobic piece of writing so authentic, so completely in period, that it's hard to believe it is not a true story.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New Ed edition (1 Jun 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752834770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752834771
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 11.3 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 610,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Laura Wilson was brought up in London and has degrees in English Literature from Somerville College, Oxford and UCL, London. She has worked briefly and ingloriously as a teacher, and more successfully as an editor of non-fiction books. She has written history books for children and is interested in history, particularly of the recent past, painting and sculpture, uninhabited buildings, underground structures, cemeteries and time capsules. She lives in Islington. Her first novel A LITTLE DEATH was shortlisted for both the CWA Ellis Peters and the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original. A THOUSAND LIES was shortlisted for the 2006 Duncan Lawrie Dagger. THE LOVER won the 2004 Prix du Polar Europeen for Best Crime Novel of the Year In Translation and was also shortlisted for the 2004 Gold Dagger and the Ellis Peters Award. In 2008, she won the Ellis Peters Award with her novel STRATTON'S WAR.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping mystery to the last page. 17 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The pivot of this book is the shocking discovery of three people found dead from shotgun wounds in a house in London in 1955.
Although, the story opens in 1994, we are taken back to the late 1890's and the home of the Lomax family. When tragedy strikes, it shapes the future of the surviving family members and nothing is ever the same again.
The story takes us through the great war, some of the descriptions of which I found both moving and harrowing. Subsequently, we learn of the marriage of Georgina Lomax to the wealthy James Gresham and her trial for his killing, twenty years later.
As the story unfolds, I was fascinated by the personalities of the three narrators and the complex relationships between the three. This book is rich in the description of a world gone by, and in the power that people weld over one another. Also mistaken loyalty.
Whilst being a gripping mystery to the last page, it also portrays unfulfilled dreams, and an air of sadness that lingers after one closes the book.
This is Laura Wilson's debut novel, and I urge you all not to miss this one. Highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes 17 July 1999.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Death, Laura Wilson 25 Feb 2005
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Laura Wilson is superb. Of the recent new authors on the scene, she is probably the most distinctive, certainly one of the most talented. Her books are rare: short but powerful, short yet psychologically deep, short yet full of incident (due in part to an excellent story-telling style which reveals much with few words).
There's something glorious in her style, in the way she chooses to tell her stories. I don't think I've ever come across a writer more able to slip into the personal lexicon of the characters through which she chooses to tell her story. Too, there are few writers with such a wonderful sense of history, with a sense of it as a thing that can be a background to the story, informing and moving along the storying, rather than BEING the story. The atmosphere she's able to create, through this wonderful sense that the people are always more important than the history, even though they may be formed by it, is almost a unique one.
A Little Death is the debut of a great new writer, hugely enjoyable, historic and yet contemporary, with a talent for knowing her characters and their motivations. I've read a few of her books now, and this is well up to her talent.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a satisfying dish 31 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback
The beginning of this book was quite gripping, but sadly, the book didn't live up to its promise. The characters were mostly unpleasant and/or weak, and the plot was just full of holes. The characters' behaviour wasn't consistent - I found myself thinking far too many times or even "no, he/she would/wouldn't have", or even occasionally "well, really, anyone else would/wouldn't have...". Without giving anything away, one example was the scene near the end, when Edmund hears Georgina and Louisa talking - anyone else would have raced into the room to stop the conversation. As another reviewer said, there are no surprises in the plot, but there are several things that weren't satisfactorily explained, and the ending is rushed and unsatisfactory. It rates a second star only because I quite liked the plot device of having the three characters tell the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent page-turner 9 Sep 2009
By CJ
Format:Paperback
From the very first pages Laura Wilson's novel draws the reader into an intriguing tale of two domestic tragedies, which occurred more than half a century apart. It is a difficult book to put down as each chapter beckons you into the next - the three narrative voices are quite distinct from one another, but each compliments the other two, leading the reader steadily through the lives of the major protagonists,and on to the fatal day when one of the three shoots the other two, before turning the gun on him/herself - but which of them is the killer and who are the victims? Dark material, told with a level of taste and elegance which will render it acceptable to a wide audience.
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