New Book – Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

cover

Publication year: 2016

In the last book Frieda got into real trouble when Sandy was killed.

She fled the police as she wanted to prove the truth. When things got sorted out in the end and the real murderer found, Frieda and Karlsson face charges but they are cleared thanks to the intervention of a man called Walter Levin. We don’t know who Levin is, but he makes it clear that Frieda now owes him a favour.

It is in this new book that Walter Levin reappears, demanding that favour. Before that, there is a scene in which Yvette Long, the detective, calls her because she has heard that Karlsson has been wounded. Frieda and Yvette rush to the hospital, and there they learn that Karlsson has simply broken his leg after chasing after a suspect and falling over. He is to have surgery to get screws implanted, and the recovery will take months, so Karlsson is not a happy chappy.

Levin then appears to talk to Frieda. He invites her to a posh dinner function where she meets Ben Sedge, a policeman. Then Levin and another man Jock Keegan tell her about what they expect her to do. Apparently, Ben Sedge has been in a case in which there has been some irregularities, and Levin wants to talk to a woman, Hannah Docherty, locked in a psychiatric hospital because she killed her whole family. Levin fears that because of the irregularities in Sedge’s investigation, there could be some stir from Hannah’s side. Yet, when Frieda goes to see Hannah, the woman is unresponsive, and the only thing that draws Frieda’s attention is a tattoo on the woman’s body, which she thinks depicts the myth of Persephone and the seeds of pomegranate.

After that, Frieda asks Levin for the files of the case. We learn about Hannah and what happened. She lived with her mother Deborah, her stepfather Aidan, and her 13-year-old brother Rory. Their bodies were found with signs of violence, and the police concluded that they had been hit to death with a hammer. Hannah claimed that she was to meet her stepfather, but in the end her mother turned up to see her. It was later proved that at the time Hannah claimed to have seen her mother, the woman was already dead. Hannah is arrested, and she becomes hysterical. Frieda finds it surprising that Hannah’s lawyers let her testify. I think Frieda feels that there is something suspicious in this case. I wonder if this is a case of miscarriage of justice, and Hannah has been locked all this years unfairly.

Apart from Frieda looking into the case, we also know that there is some weird business in the mental hospital. In the prologue a woman was stabbed, and we learn later that it was Hannah who knifed the woman whose name I think is Dory. I have the hunch that Hannah is in danger – Dory mentions that Hannah stabbed her with the knife she had hidden under the mattress – so she might have been defending herself. I am really curious. If this woman has been locked here unfairly, I hope that Frieda finds out the truth, the real killer is caught, and Hannah gets the freedom she deserves. She won’t be able to get back these lost years, but if the truth is that she didn’t kill her family, at least she won’t have to spend the rest of her days like this shadow. We can see that she is totally unsteady, so maybe all she has had to go through these years has affected her forever, which is a real pity.

 

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