New Book – Blue Monday by Nicci French


Publishing year: 2011

The book starts in 1987 with Rosie, a nine-year-old girl, who jumps ahead of her five-year-old sister, Joanna, as she wants to buy sweets.

When she goes into the sweet shop, she waits for her little sister but Joanna is never seen again. Her mother is alerted, then the police, and then her father. They don’t find a clue, and years pass. Her mother marries again, her father is now an alcoholic, and life continues for Rosie, but things won’t be the same without Joanna. Rosie blames herself, and that sense of guilt seems to be with her all the time.

After this introduction, I think there is a jump in time even though there is no reference to the year. We are introduced to Frieda Klein, who is a psychiatrist. Frieda works at home and also in a clinic called the Warehouse, run by Dr. Reuben McGill. There is some concern now for Dr. McGill as he is letting the clinic go. Things go to a head when a patient Alan threatens to place a complaint against the doctor as he didn’t hear a word Alan was saying during a session. Frieda is asked to take over and treat this patient and Alan agrees. Alan is a strange man who claims to have had some odd feelings when he was in his twenties. I wonder if this man is the one who abducted Joanna. There are chunks in cursive in the book of somebody’s thoughts about little girls and boys. Are these Alan’s thoughts?

Frieda is the main character of a series of books of which this one is number one. Frieda is quite a strange woman in my opinion. She’s quite cold. She has some kind of relationship with a man called Sandy, and as for her family, we know she has a sister called Olivia and a niece Chloë. When she visits Chloe, there is a reference to Frieda hating talking about her family, and I wonder what secrets or mysteries Frieda hides. Some of the parts are quite enigmatic as we get just vague impressions of what is happening.


4 thoughts on “New Book – Blue Monday by Nicci French

  1. It seems an interesting book, mixing the mistery of Joanna’s vanishing and also the relationship and the feelings of the different characters involved. I like classical whudoit books where a crime has to be solved, but I like more when the protagonists of those books are well round and we see the struggles and their feelings. Like the English tv series Broadchurch, for example, have you ever see it?

    • I don’t think this is a classical whodunnit. For me a whodunit book is when you are presented with a crime and several characters, all of whom are possible suspects. Yet, in this book we have the crimes, and I think there’s a clear suspect even though we are not sure of his guilt. I would call this a police mystery rather than a whodunnit in the way I understand it. Naturally, it’s just my opinion. As for the show you mention, no I haven’t seen it.

      • Oh…I never heard of the term police mistery! I think you’re right, this term is more fitting for this book, since the main story develop around the crime but it isn’t the main purpouse…of the plot.
        Broadchurch is a more classical whoddunit instead, the protagonist is a detective who has been just transferred from London to this small coastal town in the South of England and he has to investigate about the murder of a local kid. Alec has been transferred because something he did during an investigation in London who still troubles him and he has also to struggle with his collegue with the Broadchurch police who aren’t very happy about his arrival.
        All in all is a good mistery and I liked also the characterization of the characters both the main and the secondary ones.

  2. Well, the term police mystery, I guess, is mine. I simply meant that for me this is not the usual whodunnit. 🙂 The show you mention sounds interesting. I love detective/police shows as long as there is not too much violence. I like the mystery side of those shows rather than the guns, physical fight or so on.

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