New Book – The Other Side of the Door by Nicci French (Pages 1 – 47)

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Publishing year: 2009

This new novel is gripping from the word go.

The narrator, who we later learn is called Bonnie, alternates from before and after to tell the events. Bonnie is a music teacher in secondary school, and the first image we get is of her getting into a flat that we gather belongs to someone called Liza, and there is a dead man in an armchair, who Bonnie has been having a relationship with. As she goes through the flat, she removes anything that belongs to her, and also things that belong to this man, who so far remains unnamed. Then Bonnie knows she can’t do this alone and calls her colleague and best friend, Sonia Hurst from a phone box. When Sonia arrives, Bonnie takes her to the flat, and at first, she acts quite coldly, but then she is shocked. What Bonnie wants is to get rid of the body, and even though Sonia is reluctant at first, she finally comes around and they talk about what to do, and they decide that what they can do is dump the man and his car into a reservoir which is not too far away. There are so many questions that pop up. Everything seems to prove that Bonnie killed this man. Why? And how? And more importantly, who is this man?

In the before parts, we learn more about Bonnie and we get to meet several men, any of whom could be the man in Liza’s flat. One of the first scenes is Bonnie having dinner with Liza and Danielle, who have been her friends since university. Danielle is getting married in September, and when Liza and Bonnie ask her what she wants as a wedding present, Danielle says the only thing she wishes is for Bonnie and Liza play at her wedding. They used to have a band, but not any longer. Liza can’t take part as she is going away in the summer, and even though Bonnie refuses at first, she finally relents when Danielle keeps begging.

After that, Danielle has to recruit some musicians to play with her. First, she gets Sonia to be the vocalist, and in this conversation we learn that Bonnie had a long relationship with someone called Amos, who is also a musician and was in the band. It seems that the break-up was a common decision, and now as Bonnie talks to Sonia, she realises that Sonia sounds too keen on Amos. What we don’t know if she will eventually ask Amos to take part in the band for the wedding.

The next member is Neal Fernton, who used to be in the band when they were young. Neal accepts to play now straightaway. Then there is Joakim Siegel, who just graduated from school and was Bonnie’s best student. Joakim wants to study music and is now eager to play with Bonnie. And the last member so far is Guy Siegel, who is Joakim’s father. It was Joakim, who suggested his father could play.

I imagine that one of these men finally has a relationship with Bonnie, and she apparently kills him, but who? I am inclined to think that the man could be Guy, but I am not sure at all.

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