Author: Louise Candlish
Publication Date: July 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Those People is published by Simon and Schuster and is the first novel by Louise Candlish that I have read. Although I didn’t receive a copy of the book through Beauty and Lace book club, I was intrigued enough by the blurb to want to read it.
The book is centred around a group of residents who live harmoniously in Lowland Way, a leafy enclave west of Crystal Palace, South London. Ralph Morgan, his wife Naomi and their 2 children, 12 year old Libby and 7 year old Charlie live at number 7, his brother Finn, wife Tess and their two children, nine year old Isla and 4 year old Dex live next door at number 5. At number 3, a semi-detached home, live Anthony and Emma Kendall with their baby Sam, number 1, the other side of the semi-detached, has been vacant since the owner Jean passed away. Number 2 Lowland way, directly opposite number 1, is occupied by Sissy Watkins. Left with a huge mortgage after needing to buy her ex-husband Colin out, Sissy has been forced to turn her house into a BnB in order to meet her expenses and is understandably proud of her high star rating.
Due to minimal off street parking, most residents are forced to park in the street, but every Sunday morning, due to an initiative from Naomi, all cars are moved from the street, blockades put up at each end and the children are free to play in the street like they used to in “the good old days.” The initiative, which received a warm reception from the community, and named Play Out Sunday was the winner of the Urban Spaces Award.
And then one day Darren Booth and his partner Jodie move into number 1. Right from the start it is clear that Darren and Jodie are not the sort of people that fit the ambiance of Lowland Way. Despite an attempt from the neighbourhood to welcome them “those people” seem hell bent on doing everything possible to get the neighbours offside, from heavy metal music blaring at all hours of day and night, DIY renovations (including scaffolding), numerous cars in all states of disrepair in the garden and up and down the street and a blanket refusal to participate in moving the cars for Play Out Sunday.
But as “those people” test the resident’s patience, cracks begin to appear in the veneer of happiness and contentment of those who live in Lowland Way, tempers flare and tensions escalate until the incident of 11 August 2018 leaves one person dead. The residents are convinced that it is all the fault of “those people”, but the police are not convinced, and their ongoing investigation will reveal much about each of the individual residents.
I really loved the way that each of the early chapters of the book commenced with a statement from a resident to the police, taken on the day of the incident, and then the chapters themselves were a timeline counting down from 8 weeks before, to 5 days after the incident. The later chapters then built on the story, both as the investigation continued and filling in events leading up to, and subsequent to the incident. The characters were strong and believable and the impact of “those people” on the small community understandable.
The only downside for me was the ending which I felt implied where the conclusion of the tale was going, but left it hanging.
There is no doubt that neighbours like Darren and Jodie are to be dreaded, and many I’m sure would be able to relate to the residents experiences, but one thing that made me very glad was that, unlike poor Em and Ant, living in Australia means that when you call the police because of late night noise they will attend and not fob you off with “that’s a council issue!”
A gripping read that you won’t want to put down, highly recommended 4 Stars.
This guest review was submitted by our Beauty and Lace Club member: Marcia. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Marcia.
The Woman from St Germain is published by Simon and Schuster and is available now where all good books are sold.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Woman from St Germain so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.