Brilliantly creepy and completely absorbing, Finders, Keepers follows the growing obsession between two neighbours and shines a ruthless spotlight on the vanities of modern middleclass urbanities.
Ailsa Tilson moves with her husband and children to Trinity Fields in search of the new. New project – a house to renovate. New people – no links to the past. New friends – especially her next-door neighbour, the lonely Verity, who needs her help. Verity has lived in Trinity Fields all her life. She’s always resisted change. Her home and belongings are a shield, a defence to keep the outside world at bay. But something about the Tilsons piques her interest. Just as her ivy creeps through the shared garden fence, so Verity will work her way into the Tilson family.
And once they realise how formidable she can be, it might well be too late.
A tense read that kept me guessing from the outset. Plunging the reader straight into the story, told in the first person voice of Verity who reflects back on the arrival of her new neighbours and the curious relationships she develops with them.
Without spoilers, both Verity and Ailsa are interesting and complex women, although these two key characters are starkly different. The writing is very clever and this slow burner of a book reveals itself, layer by layer culminating with a subtle twist on the very final pages. Verity particularly is intriguing, in part because she is telling the story, this means much of what she details is about her encounters with her neighbours, through her eyes, she discloses little about herself but as the book progresses her account forces her to expose more of herself. We do know she is an intelligent lady who works for the Oxford English Dictionary and each chapter begins with a dictionary definition relevant to that part of the story, which I particularly liked. Her work allows her to maintain her reclusive lifestyle, working for home and able to observe her neighbours comings and goings throughout the day.
This is a book about relationships, and it is Ailsa who is central in this aspect, her relationship with her husband, Tom, her neighbour Verity and her friendships. Lots is touched upon, in an authentic way reflecting the complexity of human relationship, with Ailsa cast as a social chameleon, able to adapt well to her environment and behave accordingly. Thus creating a character with a depth that makes it hard for the reader to truly know and interpret her. And the combination of Verity’s narration, her secrets and biases combined with Ailsa’s character serves to keep the reader guessing and ensure an element of mystery and suspense.
There was lots to this story and it was a strong and compelling read. Each chapter starts with a recap by Verity of the current situation, she then chronologically tells the story of the preceding events leading up to now. It’s difficult to say too much more with out revealing major plot points, but for fans of domestic noir, who enjoy a quirky lead character and a mystery being played out, this is the book for you.
‘Extraordinary… a beautifully written, gripping cross between Notes from a Scandal and Gone Girl, with a dash of Eleanor Oliphant. Ridiculously good.’ Mark Edwards
About the Author
Sabine Durrant is the author of four psychological thrillers, Under Your Skin, Remember Me This Way, Lie With Me, a Richard & Judy Bookclub selection and Sunday Times paperback bestseller, and Take Me In. Her previous novels are Having It and Eating It and The Great Indoors, and two books for teenage girls, Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles and Ooh La La! Connie Pickles. She is a former features editor of the Guardian and a former literary editor at the Sunday Times, and her writing has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines. She lives in South London with her partner and their three children.
This is a blog tour, my huge thanks to Jenny Platt at Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to be involved and providing me with a finished copy of the book. Details of the tour are below so do check out what others are saying about Finders Keepers.