Daily Mail

‘A wonderful inventive debut… I can’t wait to see what this author has up her sleeve next.’

DEBUTS by Fanny Blake

by Mary Paulson-Ellis
(Mantle £12.99)

It’s 2011. Abandoning her London life, Margaret Penny returns to her mother’s cold, pokey flat in Edinburgh.

She gets a job tracing the families of people who have died alone. Mrs Walker is one of them: an old lady in straitened circumstances whose few belongings, along with other small clues, lead Margaret back into Mrs Walker’s past.

Now it’s 1925, and eight-year-old Clementine is waiting for her mother to give birth to twins. This is where Mrs Walker’s story begins.

As Margaret starts to unravel the truth of a family rife with secrets and lies, she finds herself investigating her own life, too, as the two women’s stories gradually intertwine.

A wonderful, inventive debut with an intricate and intriguing structure, characters that fascinate and a beady authorial eye for detail. I can’t wait to see what this author has up her sleeve next.