* No.3 in The Times on Saturday Bestsellers
* Waterstones Scottish Book of the Month for March 2017
* Amazon Rising Star in 2016
Somehow she’d always known that she would end like this. In a small square room, in a small square flat. In a small square box, perhaps. Cardboard, with a sticker on the outside. And a name…
In a desolate Edinburgh flat an old woman takes her last breath surrounded by the few objects she has accrued over a lifetime: a photograph, an emerald dress and a brazil nut with the Ten Commandments etched in its shell.
Meanwhile, guided by the flip of a coin, Margaret Penny escapes the disaster of her life in London and returns reluctantly to her childhood home. Faced with relying on a resentful mother she has never really known, Margaret lands a job finding families for dead people: the disreputable, the neglected, the abandoned, the lost.
Margaret’ instructions are to uncover paperwork, but the truth about her client, Mrs Walker, doesn’t lie in paperwork. It lies in the objects she has left behind – objects that reveal a story of sisters and their betrayals, of thievery and misplaced mothers and the destruction of a family by a single childhood act. Stories that move from the grime of London in the 1930’s to the present day, in which the extraordinary circular nature of life glitters from the page.
For in attempting to uncover the astonishing tale of an old woman who died alone, Margaret could finally discover her own story too…