19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Moving Murder Mystery,
This review is from: A Commonplace Killing: A Novel (Paperback)
In post-war Holloway, north London in 1946, two boys discover the body of a woman on a bomb site. The immediate response from the police is that it is a sex-related murder "a commonplace killing", a remark tossed in by a detective in a casual, dismissive way. The site was a haunt for courting couples. Detective Inspector Jim Cooper may be disgruntled at the post-war crime boom and his own shabby, lonely life but he is street-wise. He has a pragmatic view of lawbreakers - they do it because they can - and is determined to find the culprit who strangled Lillian Frobisher along with the motive, sensing it is someone in the locality.
Lillian's husband, Walter, has returned home from war to a bomb-damaged house, a wife who no longer loves him, a frail incontinent mother-in-law and a lodger who does not pay her rent. His prospects are not bright. Lillian is desperate to escape this scenario. She even misses the odd fling that she had during the war. Now her domestic life is depressing; rationing , shortages, queuing ,the black market are everyday events. The story leading to Lillian's murder is set against the bleak and authentic atmosphere of a run down crime-ridden area filled with vivid imagery of a ruined area. Sian Busby's narrative utilises the dialect of the times portraying in graphic detail the features of the location 'heavy with loneliness, shadowy with the ruin of lives and homes'. She draws her characters in a way they can readily be identified with by the reader.
Sian Busby has written an impressive authoritative novel of authenticity. It is melancholic, atmospheric and heart-rending. The circumstances surrounding the publication of this book are well-known and add to the sense of loss and poignancy.