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Bookends

I like books with weather and there’s plenty in this one, all bad, which is even better. Set in London during a cold winter, Blue Monday (Penguin, £12.99) is the first of a new series for Nicci French, the successful husband and wife author team.

16 July 2011

10:00 AM

16 July 2011

10:00 AM

I like books with weather and there’s plenty in this one, all bad, which is even better. Set in London during a cold winter, Blue Monday (Penguin, £12.99) is the first of a new series for Nicci French, the successful husband and wife author team.

I like books with weather and there’s plenty in this one, all bad, which is even better. Set in London during a cold winter, Blue Monday (Penguin, £12.99) is the first of a new series for Nicci French, the successful husband and wife author team.


The central character is a consultant psychoanalyst called Frieda Klein, and the plot revolves around identity and identity transfer. The first 40-odd pages are a kaleidoscope of scenes and points of view, which make it read as if written for the small screen (Nicci French has been successful there, too), but once we settle down with Frieda the story picks up and gathers pace all the way to the end.

It features missing children, past and present, merging the two in the minds of the unwitting characters. Minds are Frieda’s speciality, of course, and she finds herself leading a more or less sympathetic DCI Karlsson through a maze of mental states to some uncompromising material ones. Although Frieda comes over as someone perhaps in need of the cure she professes to give, there is enough of Everywoman in her to make her an effective protagonist.

Her love life is unconvincing, the f-word (and even a solitary c-word) is scattered about as if to make the book seem more real, and some of the twists of plot will test your suspension of disbelief. But no matter: you want to turn the pages and it will make good TV, which is presumably what it’s all about.


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